Sermons

This section contains sermon outlines by many leaders and teachers in the church. They are the result of thousands of hours of dedicated study of God's word. The authors have freely given these outlines for you to use to teach from, or as personal study guides.

Christian Evidences

This section contains sermons that address Christian Evidences including sermons on The Resurrection, prophesy, evolution, etc.

Creation Vs. Evolution

  1. Outlining the Options:
    1. Atheistic Evolution - Belief that evolution has produced everything that exists, denying the existence of God.
    2. Theistic Evolution - Belief that evolution was started and guided by God, and that the stories in Genesis 1-11 are mythical and allegorical.
    3. Creation - Belief that our universe was created by the God of the Bible in exactly the way stated in Genesis 1, and that the stories of Genesis 1-11 are literal and historical.
  2. Considering Theistic Evolution:
    1. The Day - Age theory : The word "Day" in Genesis 1 means "Age", not a literal 24 hour period of time. Usually appeal to 2 Peter 3:8 (one day is as a thousand years, and one thousand years as one day). There are many literalists which teach that creation took 7,000 years, some say 70,000 others as much as 7 Billion years.
      1. Hebrew YOM (Translated "Day" in Genesis 1) when used with a number ALWAYS refers to a solar day.
      2. YAMIM (Plural of YOM) always refers to solar days
      3. Evening & Morning (Used in OT over 100 times) always refers to a solar day
      4. "Evening & Morning" was standard Jewish way of designating a solar day
      5. Hebrew words available for "ages" (DOR) or "long indefinite period of time" (OLAM)
      6. Survival of plants for hundreds to billions of years without sunlight & insects?
      7. Genesis 1:14 separates signs, seasons, days, and years
      8. Adam created 6th day yet he was only 130 years old when Seth was born in Genesis 5:4,5
      9. Exodus 20:11; 31:17 both plainly state that this occurred in six days
      10. Death entered into our reality at the sin of Adam, thus animals could not have lived and died for millions of years before Adam.
      11. 2 Peter 3:8 says one day is AS 1000 years. Applies to Genesis 1 & Matthew 27:63 the same.
    2. The Gap theory: There is a gap of an undetermined amount of time between Genesis 1:1 & Genesis 1:2,3 during which time there was a civilization, Satan led a rebellion among them, and God destroyed the earth which he had made, leaving it in a state of Chaos. Genesis 1:2,3 refer to a Re-creation ( re-formation).
      1. The immediate context gives no hint of this interpretation.
      2. There is no Bible evidence that Satan had a rebellion on earth, much less it being the cause of a great cataclysm.
      3. That Satan was not on the earth as a rebel against God prior to the creation of Adam is clear from Genesis 1:31 where God pronounces all of creation "Good"
      4. The gap theory teaches death and destruction in the world before Adam which plainly contradicts Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:21)
      5. Exodus 20:11 says that the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them was created in six days. This leaves no room for a "gap"
  3. Evolution Vs. Creation
    1. By evolution, we do not mean change within a kind, we mean change between kinds.
      1. Story of Creation
      2. Story of Evolution
      3. The frog kissed by the princess, turning into a prince is a fairy tale if it happens in a moment, but the frog turning into the prince over several million years is supposed to be science.
      4. The addition of time will not help an impossibility to occur.
    2. Three fold examination of the origin of the universe
      1. The universe exists
      2. The universe has order
      3. Man is unique in the universe
    3. Note that Evolution is still called a Theory, because it has not been proven
    4. Many object to creation on the grounds that it is not scientific. Neither is Evolution.
      1. State the problem or question
      2. For a hypothesis or possible solution
      3. Experiment and test this hypothesis observing the results
      4. Interpret the data
      5. Draw your conclusion
    5. Evolution falls at exactly the same point in the process. It cannot be observed, experimented, or tested.
    6. How do the facts fit the two theories.
      1. Living animals are kinds (per Genesis), and not thousands of transitional forms
      2. What about fossils?
        1. The fossil record confirms creation for we find no transitional fossils where there should be millions.
        2. Where is the 1% horse & 99% dog?
        3. All known mutations are harmful.
    7. Dinosaurs are merely extinct animals (Job 40, 41)
    8. The second law of Thermodynamics denies evolution (everything, when left to itself, tends toward decay and disorder)
    9. If there are all these scientific problems with evolution, then why do so many scientists believe it?
  4. Many prominent scientists don’t (i.e. Louis Pasteur, Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Leonardo Da Vinci, Francis Bacon, and more.) believe in Evolution
  5. Quote from one prominent evolutionist "The scientific difficulties with evolution are many and great, but the only alternative is creation, and to me, this is incredible."

 

 

 

Details Of His Death

Introduction: Acts 10:43 (All the prophets give witness to the claim that Jesus is the Christ. Various prophets offer various details fulfilled at different moments in his life. His purpose, and many prophesied events, are culminated in the events of his death. This one event shows how well the prophets bear witness to his claims, proving Jesus is the Christ.)

I. Portrait Of The Prophets: (This section will briefly outline details about the different prophets we will cite regarding Christ’s death.)

     1. David: (David started out a simple shepherd boy and wound up being king of Israel. He authored most of the Psalms. He lived about 1,000 years before Christ.)

     2. Amos: (Amos was a simple herdsman and prophet of Tekoa in Judah. He lived about 750 years before Christ.)

     3. Isaiah: (Isaiah was a prophet in Judah and lived about 750 years before Christ.)

     4. Jeremiah: (Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah, sometimes exiled in Egypt, often tormented by those he served. He wrote the book that bears his name as well as Lamentations. He lived about 600 years before Christ.)

     5. Daniel: (Daniel was a prophet of Judah who lived in captivity, at first in Babylon and then Medo-Persia. He was a government official in both lands. He lived about 550 years before Christ.)

     6. Zechariah: (Zechariah was a prophet of the reform period after the Babylonian captivity. He served the government of Judah in helping direct the reconstruction. He lived about 450 years before Christ.)

II. Hail To The Historians: (This section will briefly note the quality and integrity of the four gospel historians as well as basic facts about their lives.)

     1. Matthew: (Matthew was a Jewish tax collector and one of the original disciples of Christ. As a publican he would have been lowly in the eyes of his own people. Yet his record quickly gained credibility among his peers, even Jewish Christians.)

     2. Mark: (Mark was probably a fisherman and may have been related to the apostle John. Though not a high profile figure, his gospel was accepted early on by the Christian community as authentic.)

     3. Luke: (This Greek physician is renowned as the consummate historian. Like the other historians, he submitted his work for the approval of many eye witnesses to these events [Lk. 1:1-3] which shows the records were carefully verified by many witnesses.)

     4. John: (This humble fisherman validates his work with the perspective of an eye witness. Though his gospel records some events not mentioned in the synoptic gospels, none of the details contradict with the others.)

III. Remarkable Realization: (This section will briefly detail specific prophesies Christ fulfilled in his death. It is truly remarkable that the message of these prophesies is realized in the death of Jesus.)

     1. Betrayed By A Friend:

        Prophesy: Ps. 41:9 (David wrote his Psalms about 1000 years before Christ. Here he prophesies Christ would be betrayed by a friend.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 26:47-56, Mk. 14:43-52, Lk. 22:47-53, Jn. 18:2-11 (The gospel record verifies that Judas, one of Christ’s personal friends, betrayed him.)

     2. Forsaken By Disciples:

        Prophesy: Zech. 13:7 (Zechariah said Christ’s followers would initially flee in the face of his death.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 26:31, 56, Mk. 14:27, 50, Jn. 16:32 (The disciples all fled at first. Though some were present at his crucifixion they initially left him to face it alone.)

     3. False Witnesses Testified Against Him:

        Prophesy: Ps. 27:12 (Another Psalm of David foretells of the false witnesses against Christ.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 26:59-60, Mk. 14:56 (The Jews fulfilled these prophesies as they floundered to find false witnesses to testify against Christ.)

     4. Would Not Speak In His Own Defense:

        Prophesy: Isa. 53:7 (Isaiah prophesied about 700 years before Christ. He told that the suffering Christ would be silent, not speaking in his own defense.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 26:62-63, Mk. 14:60-61, Mk. 15:3-5, Jn. 19:9-10 (Jesus fulfilled this prophesy. His silence was frustrating to those who tried him.)

     5. Endured Mockery, Taunting, Beating:

        Prophesy: Isa. 50:6, Lam. 3:30 (Isaiah speaks of how Christ would be mocked, beaten, have his beard pulled and in general be taunted. Jeremiah reflects the same kind of treatment.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 26:67-68, Mk. 14:65, Lk. 22:63-65 (The unbelieving Jews fulfilled this expectation in the way they treated Christ at his trial.)

     6. Reward Money Thrown In God’s House:

        Prophesy: Zech. 11:13 (Zechariah said the reward money would be thrown down in the temple.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:5 (Judas did this very thing after trying to get the Jews to take back the reward money.)

     7. Reward Money Bought Potter’s Field:

        Prophesy: Zech. 11:13 (Zechariah said the reward money would be used to purchase a potter’s field in which the betrayer would be buried.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:3-10, Acts 1:15-19 (The Jews did this very thing since blood money could not be taken into the temple treasury.)

     8. Nailed To The Cross By Hands And Feet:

        Prophesy: Ps. 22:16 (This Psalm of David specifically says Christ’s hands and feet would be pierced.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:35, etc., Jn. 20:25-27 (In crucifixion the victim’s hands and feet were nailed to the cross. Thomas later reflects on desiring to see these wounds as proof the resurrected person is truly Christ.)

     9. Crucified:

        Prophesy: Dan. 9:26 (Daniel prophesied the Messiah would be killed in the midst of his last prophet "week" or seven year period, after his three and a half year ministry.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:35, etc. (The prophesy is fulfilled in the fact Christ was crucified after his three and a half year ministry.)

     10. Crucified With Criminals:

        Prophesy: Isa. 53:12 (Isaiah said Christ would be killed in the company of common criminals.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:38, Mk. 15:27-28, Lk. 23:33 (This was fulfilled when they crucified Jesus between two thieves.)

     11. Hated Without Reason:

        Prophesy: Ps. 69:4 (David’s Psalm says Christ would be hated without just cause.)

        Fulfillment: Lk. 23:4, 14, Jn. 15:25, Jn. 18:38, Jn. 19:4-6 (The Jews and Romans all hated Jesus, yet Jesus had done them no wrong.)

     12. Friends Watch From A Distance:

        Prophesy: Ps. 38:11 (This Psalm of David foretells Christ’s friends would observe his suffering from a distance.)

        Fulfillment: Lk. 22:54, Lk. 23:49 (Peter and the others kept their distance while watching the proceedings at Christ’s trial and murder.)

     13. Others Shook Their Head At Him:

        Prophesy: Ps. 22:7, Ps. 109:25 (Both of these Psalms of David speak of people wagging their heads at Christ.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:39, Mk. 15:29-30 (The passers by did this very thing while Jesus hung on the cross.)

     14. Gambled For His Clothes:

        Prophesy: Ps. 22:18 (David prophesied the soldiers would gamble for Christ’s clothes.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:35, Mk. 15:24, Lk. 23:34, Jn. 19:23-24 (The Roman soldiers did this to determine who could keep the remnants of Christ’s garments.)

     15. Given Gaul And Vinegar:

        Prophesy: Ps. 22:15, Ps. 69:21 (Both Psalms of David foretell Christ would be given gaul and vinegar for his thirst.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:34, 48, Mk. 15:23, 36, Lk. 23:36, Jn. 19:28-30 (Christ was offered vinegar twice in fulfillment of the prophesy.)

     16. Commended His Spirit To God:

        Prophesy: Ps. 31:5 (This Psalm of David tells another statement Christ would make on the cross.)

        Fulfillment: Lk. 23:46 (Christ quoted this Psalm just before he died.)

     17. Side Pierced:

        Prophesy: Zech. 12:10 (Zechariah said Christ’s side would be pierced.)

        Fulfillment: Jn. 19:33-37 (The soldiers did this instead of breaking his legs.)

     18. Darkness Over The Land:

        Prophesy: Amos 8:9 (Amos was an earlier prophet, living about 800 years before Christ. He foretold the land would be darkened the day Christ died.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:45, Mk. 15:33, Lk. 23:44 (This was fulfilled when darkness came over the land while Jesus was on the cross. Note the historical references on this point later.)

     19. Buried In A Rich Man’s Tomb:

        Prophesy: Isa. 53:9 (Isaiah said the suffering Christ would be buried in a rich man’s tomb.)

        Fulfillment: Mt. 27:57-60, Mk. 15:42-46, Lk. 23:50-54, Jn. 19:38-42 (Joseph of Arimathea fulfilled this when he provided his tomb for Christ’s burial. Christ was wrapped in cloth and spices as was the custom for those wealthy enough to afford it.)

Conclusion: (In the details of his death we see a splendid affirmation of the validity and reliability of the Bible. This shows the record of prophesy contained in the Old Testament scriptures is inspired. And it shows the historical record of his life is inspired. Since the Bible is surely a book from God, it demands our attention and respect.)

 

Did Jesus Really Die?

The Islamic faith holds Jesus to be a prophet but denies that he is the divine son of God. Furthermore, it denies that Jesus died for the sins of others. It is maintained that the record of the gospel or Injeel and the Torah or the Tawrit has been so tainted by Hellenistic, Pagan influences that it's true message is lost and the traditional story of Jesus cannot be believed. The purpose of this sermon is to deal with growing Islam, build faith in Christ, and to show your need for Christ.

Islamic Position:

    1. No Vicarious Atonement: Surah 35:18 "And a burdened soul cannot bear the burden of another..." (it is central to the beliefs of Islam that one cannot suffer for the sins of another.)

     Ezek. 18:20 (Moslems claim this passage teaches one cannot bear the sin of another.)

    2. Jesus Didn't Die: Surah 4:157-158 "And their saying: Surely we have killed Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Jesus) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. hay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise." (Islam teaches that the Jews killed a man who looked like Jesus but that Jesus was taken by God into heaven.)

    3. Jesus Not The Son Of God: Surah 6:101 "Wonderful originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort...." See also Surah 9:30, 4:171 (Moslems believe the nature of God is such that he could not have a son.

Answers:

    1. Substitutionary Death: Ezek. 18:20 (This is not a statement on vicarious atonement but is a rebuttal to the false concept that Judah was in captivity because former generations had sinned. It speaks of one person by nature suffering the guilt of former generations' sin, not Christ voluntarily bearing the penalty for another person's sin.)

     (Sin reaps the penalty of death. If there is no death for sin, how can sin be cleared? Would God be just to punish one sin with death and simply forget another?)

    2. Did Jesus Die: Surah 19:15, 33 "And peace on him on the day he was born, and on the day he dies, and on the day he is raised to life .... And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life." (This passage clearly speaks of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus as a fact.)

     (If the divine Son of God did not die for man, then God expects man to do something for him [die] that he will not do for man. The greatest expression of love is to die for another, and according to Islam, God never did it. It is the utmost arrogance to think you would do something for God he would not do for you.)

    3. Jesus Is A Son: (What is inherit in the nature of God that demands he could not have a son, one who is equal but subordinate?)

What The Bible Says:

    1. Old Testament From God: Surah 32:23 "And certainly We gave the Book to Moses, so be not in doubt concerning the receiving of it, and We made it a guide for the children of Israel." (The Rook is clearly said to be from God, and is a believable guide.)

     Surah 5:44 "Surely We revealed the Torah in which was guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves to Allah..." (Along with the Torah, the first five books, also the prophet books are inspired.) See also Surah 2:53, 21:48, 23:49, 25:35, 28:43, 40:53-54, 41:45, 46:12

     Isa. 53:4-6 (There is no denying that the Old Testament portrays the coming of one who would suffer for the sins of others.)

    2. New Testament From God: Surah 5:46 "And We sent after them in their footsteps Jesus, son of Mary, verifying what was before him of the Torah and We gave him the Injeel in which was guidance and light..." (The Injeel, or gospel, is said to be from God and give light.) See also Surah 2:87, 19:30, 46:30, 57:27.

     Jn. 11:49-51 (The New Testament plainly states that Jesus would die for the sins of others.)

     2 Cor. 5:21 (The substitutionary aspect of Christ's death is specifically explained.)

    3. David Inspired: Surah 17:55 "... We have made some of the prophets to excel others, and to David We gave a scripture." (The psalmist David is said to be inspired.) See also Surah 4:163

     Ps. 2:12, Heb. 1:8/Ps. 45:6 (Christ was referred to as the son before his incarnation.)

    4. No Distinction Between Books: Surah 2:136 "Say: We believe in Allah and in that which had been revealed to us, and in that which was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and in that which was given to Moses and Jesus, and in that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit." (According to this, no distinction is made between the prophets of the Bible and the Koran. One is just as credible as the other.) See also Surah 2:285.

    5. We Must Believe The Bible: Surah 3:3-4 "He has revealed to you the Book with truth, verifying that which is before it, and He revealed the Torah and the Injeel aforetime, a guidance for the people, and He sent the Furqan (Criterion) Surely they who disbelieve in the communications of Allah- they shall have a severe chastisement..." See also Surah 4:136, 6:5.

Has The Bible Been Changed: Islam holds that the Bible text has been so corrupted that it cannot be trusted. There are some passages of truth but the claims of the sonship of Jesus, etc., are the result of corruption of the text.

     Surah 7:170 "And as for those who hold fast by the Book and keep up prayer, surely we do not waste the reward of the right doers." (Why hold fast the book or consult the people of the book if it is tainted? How can the book be a guide and a light if it is tainted?)

     Isa. 40:8 (God promised to preserve his word. A similar promise is made in the Koran. If he would not keep his promise to preserve the Bible, how do we know he has preserved the Koran?)

What This Means To Us:

    1. Sonship Implies Authority: Mt. 28:18, Jn. 12:44 (As the Son of God Christ has all authority. He represents God's authority. The authority of Christ compels us to follow him.)

    2. His Death Says He Loves You: Rom. 5:8, Jn. 15:13 (The death of Jesus manifests the love of God and Christ. According to Islam, this greatest expression of love was never given by God, only by man! Arrogant! This love calls on you to follow Jesus.)

    3. Substitution Says You Need Him1 Tim. 2:5 (The fact that Christ suffered in our place shows he is your mediator to God and that you need him. How arrogant for lowly man to think he can approach God on his own, without help from the God/man, Jesus Christ!)

     

The Coming Of Christ's Kingdom

Introduction: Dan. 2:44 (This passage shows the expectation of God’s kingdom. The context outlines four world powers; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. God’s kingdom was to come in the days of this Roman Empire. Many misunderstand this and teach a thousand year kingdom of Christ at the end of time. This study will show Christ’s kingdom is already with us and it involves his right to rule our lives.) Jn. 18:36 (Jesus dismissed the idea that his kingdom was worldly or would be established with warfare. His kingdom is spiritual in nature.)

A. What Is The Nature Of This Kingdom:

     1. Would Have A King: Ps. 110:1-2, Jer. 23:5-6 (The prophets foretold the kingdom would have Christ as its king.)

     2. Would Have A Law: Jer. 31:31-33 (The prophets spoke of a coming new law that would be different from the Mosaic law.)

     3. Would Have Subjects: Dan. 7:13-14 (The prophets spoke of people submitting themselves to the king’s rule. Understanding the kingdom involves understanding Christ’s right to rule our lives.)

     4. Would Have A Territory: Isa. 2:2 (The prophets told of the whole world being the territory of this new kingdom. That is to say, people of all nations can be a part of this.)

B. When Will It Be Established:

     1. In The Last Days: Isa. 2:2-3 (The prophet said this kingdom would be established in the last days. We noted earlier Daniel said it would come in the days of the Roman Empire.)

     2. These Are The Last Days: Heb. 1:1-2 (The Hebrew writer spoke of the first century as "these last days". That time was the last days of the Jewish system.) Acts 2:16-17 (Peter described the events on Pentecost as fulfilling a prophesy that pertained to the last days. This doesn’t speak of the end of time, but the end of the Mosaic system.)

C. So The Kingdom Has Been Established:

     1. Christ Said So: Mk. 9:1 (Christ spoke of his kingdom as something that would come in their life time.)

     2. Paul Was In It: Col. 1:13-14 (Paul regarding his deliverance and cleansing from sin and his admission into the kingdom as a simultaneous event.)

     3. Christ’s Right To Rule: Lk. 6:46 (Calling Jesus Lord and King means he has the right to rule our lives. Since he has a kingdom, he has the kingly right to rule.)

D. The Nature Realized:

     1. Christ Is King: Acts 2:36, Acts 17:7 (Though his kingship was not in opposition to Caesar, Christ was announced to be Lord and King by the early church.)

     2. New Covenant Is The Law: Heb. 8:6-13 (Christ speaks of the new law as being realized in the establishment of Christ’s new covenant.)

     3. Christians Are Subjects: Eph. 5:24 (We as disciples submit ourselves to the kingdom rule of Christ.)

     4. World Is The Territory: Acts 2:39, Rom. 1:16 (The early disciples were told the spiritual promises of the kingdom were for people all over the world. The scope of God’s kingdom goes beyond one nation.)

Conclusion: 1 Tim. 3:15 (Christ’s church is that kingdom, the house of God today. When you become a Christian you are rescued by Christ from sin. You then submit yourself to his kingdom rule. To deny Christ’s kingdom today is to deny the very institution in which we find shelter from sin. To acknowledge it and be a part of it is to submit to his lordship now and forever.)

 

What the Resurrection means to us

 

1.  Introduction:

A. Tell the story of the Resurrection, with short, particular, passage readings

B. What did the resurrection mean to them?

1.  It meant Peter wasn’t going back to be a fisherman

2.  It meant Mary didn’t have to have a funeral for her Son

3.  It meant the grieving stopped

4.  It meant Life after Death was possible

C.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event in human history, and for Christians, it is the “proof in the pudding”

D.  What does the resurrection mean to you and me?

2.  The resurrection means that Jesus is who He claimed to be:

A.  He claimed to be the Son of God–John 4:25-26

B.  That means He is always right, about everything.

C.  But it doesn’t mean this to everyone for some still reject His Lordship in their lives.

3.  The resurrection means that the Bible is truly the word of God

A.  The God of the Bible, the Christian God, predicted, and produced, unlike every other religion in existence.

1.  Over 300 prophesies of the Christ, all fulfilled in Jesus.Many made hundreds, even thousands of years before.

2.  God promised them, and He fulfilled them.

B.  Jesus recognized the scriptures as true and inspired from God.

1.He quoted from the OT scriptures constantly in His ministry

2.This means that any other religious “way” is wrong–John 14:6

3.And, every other religion is wrong.

C.But it doesn’t mean this to everyone for some still reject the Bible

1.And some claim it, yet make no effort to obey it.

4.  The resurrection means that death, even your death, is not final.

A.  Shall a man live again?And the answer to that question can be answered with a resounding YES!

B.  It means that what you do in this life, is only temporary–2 Pt.3:10-13

1.  Consider Eternity and how long that will be –Illustration of sparrow

C.  It means all that Jesus taught about the “next life” is true–John 5:23,24

1.  Including His teachings of Heaven and Hell.

D.  It means Death is a defeated enemy –1 Cor.15:54,55

E.  Yet it doesn’t mean this to everyone, for many live as though there is nothing to be gained in a future life from our conduct in this life.

5.  The resurrection means that your forgiveness is real –1 Corinthians 15:14

A.  It means that a “fresh start”, a “new beginning”, a “do-over” is possible.

1.  Jesus called it being “Born Again” Jn.3:3,5

a.  Can you imagine being able to really “Start again”?To have the slate wiped clean?For all the ugliness of your past to be erased?For your failures and mistakes to be banished to the realm of “never happened”? no mistakes, no failures, nothing.Brand, spanking, New.

b.  When you are “Born again”, this is true of you.It’s all new.You get a 2nd chance, with a guaranteed win.You get to start the game over again. –2 Cor.5:17

B.  It means the promise of my forgiveness can be believed.

1.  The same God who promised to raise Jesus from the dead, has promised to forgive sin, and count us righteous –Rom.4:22-25

C.  It means your baptism was more than “getting wet” –Col.2:12; 1 Pt.3:21

D.  But it doesn’t mean this to everyone, for many reject this “new birth” as Nicodemus did at this time.

1.  Many even commit suicide out of regret for past mistakes.

2.  Many reject baptism as a useless work of man.

 

6.  The resurrection means we have a reason to die.

A.  Everyone needs a reason to die.We must die to live.And the resurrection gives us this hope.–1 Cor.15:17

1.  It means our labor in the Lord is not in vain–1 Cor.15:54-58

B.  But it doesn’t mean this to everyone, for many have never accepted life that they might live.

1.  Many live today with no hope for tomorrow.

2.  Many spend their lives in vain labors (laying up treasures here) and face death as a moment of tremendous terror.

 

7.  Conclusion:We have these things then, that the Resurrection of Jesus, from the dead means to us today.But it does not mean all these things to everyone.Some still don’t believe the scriptures, some reject Jesus, some deny the afterlife, some turn away from baptism and forgiveness, and some live in constant fear of a defeated enemy –death.

A.  What about you?What does the resurrection mean to you?Is it the burning fire that drives all your hopes and actions, or is it just another “doctrine” of the church?

 

Why we Believe the Bible

Evidence of Prophesy

 

Prophesy

Fulfillment

1

Deuteronomy 28:53-57 and Luke 21:5-36 make detailed prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus said would occure in his generation.

In 70 A.D. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans just as Jesus and Moses had prophesied years before.

2

Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 state that a man named Cyrus would lead the Persians in overtaking the world and rebuilding Jerusalem.

II Chronicles 36:22-23, the book of Ezra and ample record of History shows that this very thing took place.

3

Jeremiah 25:11-12 prophesies that the nation of Judah would be captured by Babylons for seventy years.

The book of Ezra and secular History reveal that this is exactly what took place.

4

In Ezekiel 26:4-5 it is prophesied that the city of Tyrewould be a place of desolation where fishermen would spread there nets.

An investigation of the place where this ancient city once thrived will show that these conditions exist just as the Bible said hundreds of years before.

5

The book of Daniel details the rise and fall of four major kingdoms. See chapters 2, 7, and 8. In some cases the kingdoms are specifically named.

There is a clear succession in History of four major empires from Daniel's time. These being Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.

6

Daniel 11 details struggles within the Greecian empire, especially involving a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom.

History reveals just such a struggle. Specifically between Syria and Egypt. This took place centuries after Daniel spoke this prophesy.

7

Micah 5:2, Hosea 11:1 and Jeremiah 31:15 make detailed prophesies of the Lord's birthplace and escape to Egypt to avoid Herod's massacre of babies in Bethlehem.

Mathew 2:1-22 shows how the first two or three years of the life of Jesus fulfill these prophesies exactly.

Evidence of Science

 

Science

Scripture

1

In 1735 a scientist said there were three kingdoms: mineral, plant and animal.

Genesis 1:1-10 (mineral), Genesis 1:11-20 (plant), Genesis 1:21-28 (animal).

2

In the 15th century man thought the world was flat.

Isaiah 40:22 clearly speaks of the earth being round.

3

In past centuries man believed the earth rested on something.

Job 26:7 speaks of the earth being suspended in space.

4

In recent years science has discovered an empty place in the northern skies.

Job 26:7 spoke of that empty place centuries ago.

5

In 1543 scientists first suggested that planets and stars move.

Job 38:31-32 spoke of the movement of the stars long ago.

6

In the 18th century Benjamen Franklin discovered that lightning comes from condensing water in the clouds.

Jeremiah 10:13 speaks of the effect clouds and rain has in producing lightning.

7

Recently scientists have discovered that stars emit a musical pitch.

Job 38:7 spoke of the singing stars centuries before.

8

 Centuries ago the science of oceanography was born when it was discovered there were currents in the ocean.

Psalms 8:8 reveals the inspired David knew of these paths years ago.

9

In recent years science has discovered that snow and ice contain treasures of nitrogen which is benaficial to crops.

Job 38:22 spoke of these treasures centuries before science ever made the discovery.

10

The wonders of science allows for the transmision of radio signal with electricity.

Job 38:35 speaks of voice being transmitted by lightning years before science accomplished this.

Evidence of Archaeology

 

Scripture

Archaeology

1

Jesus attributes the earlier writings of the Old Testament to Moses. For years schollars laughed at this saying that writing did not even exist in the times of Moses.

Late in 1901 and early 1902 the Code of Hammurabi (Amraphel of Genesis 14:1) was discovered which revealed that writing existed as early as 2250 b.c.

2

Israel suffered at the hands of many nations. At times they enjoyed peace and indipendance. But at other times they were provinces of such nations as Egypt and Babylon. Much of the Old Testament deals with these events of Israel's History.

In 1887 300 clay tablets were found near the Nile River. These were called the Tel el-Amama Tablets. They speak of conditions in Palestine that exactly verify the Bible account.

3

The Bible speaks of wars between Assyria and Syria and how Assyria eventually conquered Syria and Israel.

The British museum has an ancient find called the Black Obelisk. It gives details of these wars verifying the Bible record.

4

The Bible speaks of Israel being enslaved by the Egyptians for 430 years. During this time they made bricks with straw and later were forced to make them without straw. For years experts doubted the validity of this story.

The ancient city of Pithom has been found in Egypt revealing structures built out of strawed bricks up to a point and then without straw. Once again the Bible is proven to be true.

5

One of the nations discussed often in the Old Testement were the Hittites. Skeptics made light of the Bible claiming that no record of such a people exists.

Discoveries of old records in Egypt and Assyria reveal that the Hittite nation did exist in Bible times, proving the Bible right and experts wrong.

6

The book of Genesis says Abraham came from a city called Ur of the Chaldees. Skeptics once believed the city never existed and the Bible record is wrong.

In more recent times the city of Ur has been excavated, studied and thoroughly explored. The Bible is once again right and skeptics were wrong.

7

In Genesis 6 and 7 we read of a world wide flood sent by God to punish sinful man. Scientists still doubt this story, dismissing it as fairy tale.

More and more fossils of sea going species are found in high altitude areas and on top of great mountains. Men may scoff at the Bible but this kind of evidence shows the story of the flood to be true.

 

With Man this is Impossible

Introduction: Lk. 18:27 (In regards to the difficulty of a rich man being saved, Jesus taught that things impossible with man are possible with God. This principle is almost limitless in its application. A good example of how it applies is the Bible. The magnitude and wonder of the Bible is such that it could not have been accomplished by man, but was inspired by God. In this study we will illustrate this with the genealogy of Christ. The prophetic demands of the Christ creates an impossible scenario, impossible for man, but not for God.)

A. Prophetic Requirements Of The Christ: (The combination of prophesies made regarding Christ are staggering in what they require. The composite scenario formed seems impossible to fulfill.)

1. In The Physical Lineage Of David: II Sam. 7:12-13 (Nathan prophesied to David that Christ would be of David's descendants.) Acts 2:30, Rom. 1:3 (The New Testament application of this is emphatic and unquestionable. Christ was to be in the blood line of David in a physical, literal way.)

2. But Born Of A Virgin: Isa. 7:14 (Isaiah said the Christ would be born of a virgin. This was to be a sign of God's protection and care for his people.) Lk. 1:34-35 (Luke's mention of this event is clear. The Lord meant a literal virgin, not just a young woman. If Christ would be born of a virgin, how could he trace his lineage back to David, since he had no physical father?)

3. Rule On David's Throne: Isa. 9:6-7 (This and many other prophesies make it clear that Christ is to rule on David's throne. He is to be in the legal lineage and be a legal heir of David's throne.) Lk. 1:31-32 (Again, the New Testament shows the same idea as the prophesy. There is no escaping the idea Christ must be legal heir to David's throne.)

4. But Can't Be In The Physical Lineage Of Coniah: Jer. 22:30 (Jeremiah prophesied against Coniah [Jehoiachin], saying none of his descendants would rule on David's throne. This creates an apparent problem because Christ was to descend from David in the royal line so he would have a rightful place on the throne. Matthew even traces his physical ancestry through the royal line.)

5. Summary Of The Difficulty: (Christ had to be a physical descendant of David. But he was born of a virgin so that lineage could not be traced to an earthly father. But he was to rule on David's throne, and inheritance generally come through the father. If we provide for this by giving him a physical father he couldn't be born of a virgin. If we don't give him a royal line back to David he can't rule on David's throne. If we have no physical connection to David that prophesy fails. If we provide a physical connection through the royal line that makes him a descendant of Coniah and means he can't rule on David's throne. The difficulty seems insurmountable.)

B. Apparent Conflicts In Christ's Genealogy: (Add to the above difficulty the fact that many Bible critics claim the two accounts of Christ's genealogy in Matthew and Luke contradict between themselves and with Old Testament genealogies.)

1. Different Fathers For Joseph: Mt. 1:16 / Lk. 3:23 (The two historians seem to list two different fathers for Joseph. Matthew lists Jacob and Luke lists Heli.)

2. Different Names: Mt. 1:7-16 / Lk. 3:24-31 (The two accounts agree until we get to David. From David through Jesus they differ dramatically, with more names being different than being the same.)

3. Seems To Differ With Old Testament Genealogies: Lk. 3:36 (There are cases where the New Testament uses names that are quite different. Also, Luke adds Cainan between Sala and Arphaxad and he is not in the Old Testament genealogy. Also, there are several names left out in the New Testament tables.)

C. God Can Make It Work: (As we observed in our text, things that are impossible for man, such as the above difficulty, are possible with God. If we can show how the Bible resolves the difficulty, this would therefore prove the Bible must be from God and not man.)


1. Mary Provides The Blood Line: Lk. 3:23 (Joseph wasn't actually the son of Heli. In fact, "son" is a supplied word used to smooth out the English rendering. Joseph was "of Heli" in that he was son-in-law to him. The text says Jesus was believed to be of Joseph. To some this implies he was in reality of Heli. It is not unheard of to trace a blood line through the mother instead of the father. Note that in I Chron. 7:14 along with 1 Chron. 2:3-22, Jair is reckoned of the family of Manasseh. Actually his connection to that family was through his paternal grandmother, the daughter of Machir. His paternal grandfather, Hezron, was of the tribe of Judah. So it is possible for a blood line to go through a female in the genealogy. This seems to be the case with Christ's genealogy back to David, going through his mother, Mary. This satisfies the requirement that Jesus be in the lineage of David, but allows for the virgin birth.)


2. Joseph Provides The Legal Line: Mt. 1:16 (Joseph was literally begotten by Jacob. This shows Joseph descended from the royal line all the way back to David. Though Jesus was not his physical son, he was his step son. Jesus was commonly regarded as Joseph's son. See Lk. 2:48, Lk. 4:22. As such he was legally the first born and rightful heir. This satisfies the requirement that Jesus be rightful heir to David's throne, but does not make him a blood descendant of Coniah.)

3. This Accounts For Differences In Genealogies: (Understanding the two genealogies follows two different lines clears up the apparent difficulties between the two records.)

4. No Contradictions With Old Testament Genealogies: (The New Testament writers do not include all the links found in the Old Testament genealogies. It was not uncommon to skip generations, and was not at all inaccurate. Neither historian claims to include all the links, but they both include enough to fulfill their purposes. While Cainan is not in the Hebrew genealogy, he is found in the Septuagint. So they did have record of him.)

Conclusion: (Man could not contrive a story so detailed with such apparent impossibilities. Nor could man control human events sufficient to fulfill these prophesies. Nor could man produce a book that so exactly chronicles these events and satisfies all its own prophesies. However, with God this is possible. And he accomplished this great feat and recorded it in his book, the Bible.)

 

Christian Life

This section contains sermons that address the practical, "where the rubber meets the road" application of Christianity to daily living.  You will find sermons here on WHAT God expects from you, WHY you have failed, HOW to correct sinful living, and WHERE to go from here so that you can stay out of the same spiritual pot-holes in the future.

All things work together

INTRODUCTION:

A trip to the drug store to get a prescription filled.  The druggist will take several bottles off the shelf, mix them together and make a medicine.  Some of the chemicals he uses may be dangerous and even fatal, but when they are mixed together in the proper amounts, they can heal your body.  Have you ever considered that this is how God works also?  He takes all our problems, and our situations, which look so terrible, and He mixes them all together in the crucible of His love and produces something that is very wonderful - medicine for the soul.

In this great verse, Paul reminds the Roman Christians about the Chemistry of the Cross.  This process allows God to take all the circumstances of life, both good and bad, both sweet and bitter, and blend them together into something wonderful.  He can take all of life and turn it into a situation that works for our good and for His glory.

Allow me to share some of the blessings contained in this little verse. I want you to be assured that God can take your life, with all of its ups and downs, blend it with His grace, add a heaping portion of His love and transform it into a thing of great beauty and blessing.

THE ASSURANCE OF GOD’S PROMISE

1.      “We know” - All things will work for good, no questions, no qualifications.

A.     This is an ironclad promise from Almighty God Himself - Rom. 4:21.

1        His reputation rides on His Word!

2        All things will work for Good!

B.     F.B. Meyer said: “If any promise of God should fail, the heavens would cloth  themselves in sackcloth; the sun, the moon and the stars would reel from their courses; the universe would rock, and a hollow wind would moan through a ruined creation the awful fact that God can lie.” 

C.     But never  fear!  Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2.

THE TOTALITY OF GOD’S PROMISE

2.      Not “most”, not “some”, but “ALL” 

A.     Webster’s definitions of all –

1        The whole of, the greatest possible; 

2        Every member or individual part of; 

3        The whole number or sum of; 

4        Every;

5        Any whatever.

B.     In fact, every thing in the life of the child of God is working for your good!  

1        Even the things you don’t understand, or even like!

C.     Notice some areas where God is working out our good and His glory.



1        Pleasant Things Work For Our Good - It is easy to see how the sweet things in life work for us.  Home, family, health, wealth, salvation, etc.)  These things are the stuff of life that make it good and make us feel good about things.  In fact, these blessings from the Lord ought to cause us to want to be better Christians, Rom. 2:4.  We ought to thank and praise Him for His blessings - 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15.

2        Distressing Things Work For Our Good – What if there were a Russian invasion of the US and many were carried off to slavery in Siberia. Would it be good? There are several examples in the Word of God where extremely sorrowful things happened to people and it all worked for their good in the end. Judah - Jer. 24:5; David - Psa. 119:71; Joseph - Gen. 50:20; Manasseh - 2 Chron. 33:11-12) Often the sickbed, the valley of suffering, or the time of sorrow can out teach the sermon! When God allows a time of sorrow, suffering or pain in our lives, it is always for our good and for His glory. He never said we had to like it, but we should strive to be thankful!  Remember, it is the eye that is washed with tears that sees the best!

3        Satanic Things Work For Our Good - Paul - 2 Cor. 12:7-10,11 Paul endured Satanic attack and affliction. But, God was in control!  God can even use the devil to work out good things in our lives.  Old widow, no groceries and cruel landlord.  Even Satanic attack is used by the Lord to grow us up in his image.

4        Personal Failures Work For Our Good - Christians ought not sin! When we do, we will suffer, but God can take the suffering brought about deliberate sin and use it for our good - Simon Peter - Luke 22:31-34.

D.    God uses all the circumstances of life for our good. We may not see the good right now, but we can still take comfort and rejoice in the completeness of God’s promise.

THE FOUNDATION OF HIS PROMISE

3.      The cause is the awesome power of God.  He is all-powerful, all-knowing  and He is able to take control of every situation in life.

A.     It’s easy to forget that God is in control - Matt. 28:18; Eph. 3:20; Luke 1:38; 

B.     Job 42:2.  When we get our eyes off Him and on our circumstance, we’re in for a fall

1        Peter - Matt. 14:28-31

2        Example: Martin Luther and deep depressions.

C.     When life closes in, remember this: If you belong to Jesus, God is behind every circumstance you face.  Job 1 & 2

THE CONDITIONAL NATURE OF HIS PROMISE

4.      This promise is not for everyone.  Only to those who love God.

A.     If all things work together for good to the lover of God, the opposite must be true for those who do not love him! 

1        Preaching - Blesses the obedient, and bruises the disobedient.  If you went to a physician whom you didn't trust, you wouldn't follow his prescription and treatment and as a result, you wouldn’t experience the blessing of healing.  If you do not love God, and trust His wisdom, you will rebel against Him and refuse to submit to His will for your life.

B.     How can I tell if I really love God?

1        Are you saved?  You don’t love Him if you don’t know Him - 1 John 4:19.

2        Are you obedient?  John 14:15; John 14:21.

C.     Rom. 8:28 is not a promise to you unless you qualify as one who loves Him!

1        The relationship you have with Jesus can be either good or bad.  He is the door - John 10:9.

2        To the saved, He is the door into the glories of Heaven and eternal life,

3        To the lost, He is the door into damnation and eternal separation in Hell.  You see, it is vitally important for you to “love God”, so this great promise can be yours now and forever.

THE RESULT OF GOD’S PROMISE

5.      This is not a verse designed for your happiness!  It is not to be taken lightly.  Notice the verses that immediately follow it - 29-30.

A.     God’s purpose in turning everything to good is not to bless you, make you happy, or make you wealthy.  God is doing all that He does to make you more like Jesus!  God didn’t finish with you at salvation.  He will continue to shape you until you reflect His image perfectly

B.     The whole purpose of Romans 8:28 is to teach us that God has an eternal plan and that nothing will ever be able to change that plan!  God is busy reproducing Himself in each of us.

CONCLUSION

6.      God always saves the best for last

A.     John 2 - Jesus in Cana.  The truth of this great promise is this: One day when all our plans, hopes and dreams are gone, we will be like Him!

B.     Imagine God to be like a great diamond cutter.  One day, as a result of everything you have endured and enjoyed in this life, He will have chipped and chiseled you into His own image.  That and that alone makes every situation of life worthwhile.

C.     As God works out His chemistry in our lives, we can be assured that we will be the ones who will ultimately benefit.  Bring all of you circumstances before him this morning and trust His wisdom in your life.

Am I my brother's keeper and is he mine?

1.          Introduction:

A.                 Genesis 4:1-9 – Cain's excuse for his sin

B.                 I want to ask you a version of that same question today, “are you your brother’s keeper and is he yours?”

C.                 In considering this, we need to address first a Biblical truth as it relates to the authority structure of the church

D.                Congregational Autonomy

1.             Defined

a.            Autonomous – “Self-Governing”

b.           Accountable – “held responsible (by another) for conduct”

2.             Autonomous Structure of congregations – Philippians 1:1

a.            Bishops, Deacons, Saints (members)

3.             Establishment – Titus 1:5

a.            Evangelist

2.          Personal Accountability

A.                 The design of the church

1.             As a family – Romans 8:14-17

a.            Members of a family are accountable to each other, and what one does effects the entire family unit and all the individuals in it.

2.             As a body – Romans 12:5,6,15; 1 Corinthians 12:12ff

a.            Each part of the body, when corrupted by illness or injury effects the entire body.

3.             As a building – 1 Timothy 3:15

a.            The entire structure of a building depends on all “systems” doing their job, roof, walls, windows, foundation, etc.

B.                 Our personal accountability

1.             To God – Acts 4:19

a.            This is always our 1st allegiance

2.             To God appointed authorities

a.            Home – Husbands & Parents – Eph.5:22-6:4

b.           Church – Hebrews 13:17

c.            Government – 1 Peter 2:13,14

d.           Work – 1 Peter 2:18

3.             To Each other

a.            Submit to each other – Ephesians 5:21

1)             In some sense, husbands submit to wives, and shepherds to sheep.

b.           We are required to judge each other  1 Corinthians 5:11-13

c.            We are to restore – Galatians 6:1-5

1)             This requires knowing each other well enough to make a judgment about other’s Christianity.

2)             Restore = return to usefulness

3)             Those who are spiritual are those who have the Spirit of God living within them.

a)              If you aren’t spiritual, then you need to be restored yourself

3.          Conclusion:

A.                 We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice

1.             Romans 12:15

B.                 Christ’s prayer for unity binds us together – John 17:20,21

C.                 As a family, body, and building, we must depend on each other, and we must have the freedom to “judge” the lives of each other.

D.                NEVER, EVER say or have the attitude “hey, butt out!  This is my life and I’ll do whatever I want with it!”

Answers from the Resurrection - Easter

1.     Introduction:  Luke 22:1 – 24:52

A.     For some, Easter is a day for family, bunnies, chocolate and eggs. For others, it's the end of spring break, a week of kicking back or running wild. For still others, it's a deeply spiritual day, set aside to reflect upon a great miracle that happened long ago. But for those with eyes to see, it's a day that gives us answers to some of life's deepest and most profound questions - answers found in this story of hope and life, the resurrection.

B.     This Is A Three-Part Story (Ephesians 1:18-20)

1.      I Corinthians 15:1-4

a.       Death, Burial, and Resurrection

C.     Let’s consider some of the answers the Resurrection gives:

2.     What's So Bad About A Little Sin?

A.     1 John 3:4 – Sin is breaking God’s law.  Do you ever break God’s law?

B.     James 4:17 - Sin is when you choose to do something you believe is wrong.

C.     Romans 6:23 – The wages of sin is death.

D.    1 Peter 2:24 – He died for your sins, He took your wages.

E.     1 Corinthians 15:12-17 – If he was not resurrected, you are condemned in your sins.

F.      The resurrection answers that sin is not a small thing, it is a deadly thing.

3.     Can Death Be Beaten? Or Is This All There Is?

A.     2 Timothy 1:10 – Christ abolished death

B.     Hebrews 2:14 – Christ defeated Satan with Death

C.     John 11:20-25 – Martha and the resurrection of Lazarus “Shall never die”

D.    1 Corinthians 6:14 – God will raise us up

E.     2 Corinthians 15:26 Death will be finally and forever destroyed

F.      When I understand the Resurrection, I grieve differently and I spend my time and money differently.

4.     How Powerful Is God ?

A.     Ephesians 3:20  He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more

B.     2 Timothy 1:12  I know whom, I have believed, and am persuaded, that he is able…

C.     Romans 8:31-39  God delivered his own son, Christ is risen, therefore nothing…

D.    When I understand the power of the Resurrection story, I know the only questions are when and how, not IF…

5.     Conclusion:

A.     No one knows when Jesus came out of the grave (What day of the year), but we do know that he did!

B.     The resurrection is an historical fact that has tremendous impact upon our lives today, and I believe we have seen some of the pivotal questions of our day answered in this.

1.      Sin is bad…costly, and deadly…to Christ

2.      Death not only can, but has been beaten.  We look only for it’s defeat in our own experience.

3.      God is the definition of power.  He can destroy you in Hell, or he can deliver you into heaven…the choice is yours.

Are you and enemy of Christ?

Phs.3:17-19; Luke 19:27

1. Introduction:

A. Christ was the most loved & most hated man who ever lived

B. He has conscious & unconscious enemies

C. He will destroy all enemies - Luke 19:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10,11

2. Open Adversaries:

A. Saul - Acts 8:3; 9:1,2

B. His Reconciliation - 1 Timothy 1:15,16

3. False Prophets:

A. Jeremiah 14:14

B. 2 Peter 2:1,2

C. Simon - Acts 8:9-12

D. His Reconciliation - Acts 8:13

4. Those Who've Not Obeyed The Gospel:

A. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

B. The Gospel - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (The Cross)

1. Romans 6:17,18; 3-5

C. The power of reconciliation - Romans 1:16; 5:1,10

D. Matthew 12:30

5. Worldly Christians:

A. Mind set on world - Philippians 3:17-19

B. Love not World - 1 John 2:15-17

C. Simon - Acts 8:18-21

D. His Reconciliation - Acts 8:22-24

6. Lukewarm Christians:

A. Laodicea - Revelation 3:14-17

B. Peter - Matthew 26:56,58,69-75

C. His Reconciliation -John 21:15-17; Revelation 3:18-21

7. Being Reconciled To God And Christ:

A. Cross is the key - 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

B. John 15:13-15

C. Matthew 16:24

D. "What lack I yet?"

Be Different

1. Introduction
    A. 1 Samuel 8:1-22
        1. Samuel, a faithful prophet, when old turned the duties of judging to his sons
        2. They were corrupt
        3. In an effort to solve their problem of judicial corruption, they looked at the nations around them and desired a king.
            a.  So they would be “like all the other nations”.
        4. This displeased God, and I believe today God is displeased when his people seek to be like those in the world.

2. God wants us to be different
    A. 2 Cor.6:17
    B. Do you ever look at other people or churches and think it would be nice to be like them?
    C. One cause is that, like the Israelites, we don’t see the problems of others , but only see our own problems.
    D. God, on the other hand can see everything, and He only wants the best for us.

3. Being different can be hard
    A. Illustrate with being in school and some time that you were humiliated for being different,
         1.  Or some time when you should have been different, but because of peer pressure, you weren’t.
    B. You must remember that the crowd doesn’t respect followers in the crowd.
    C. They respect:
        1. The leaders
        2. Those who stand up for what they believe in
    D. People despise
        1. Hypocrites
        2. Those who act “holier than thou”
        3. Those who try to be different just for the sake of being different
            a. This is foolish and sinful pride
    E. It was hard for the Apostle Peter to be different
        1. Tell story of his denial, three times of Christ
            a. He probably regretted that the remainder of his life, but that didn’t end his temptation to go along with the crowd
        2. Gal.2:11-13
        3. These things were written, not so we would judge Peter, but for our benefit, so we could learn from his mistakes.
    F. Instead of being concerned about what others think of us, ask yourself, “What would Jesus think?”

4. How does God want us to be different?
    A. Examples:
        1. Tattoo “JESUS” on our forehead?  That would be different.
        2. Covering your car with religious bumper stickers?
        3. Placard your Yard with Neon, lighted signs that have scripture on them?
    B. We don’t find the NT Christian doing such attention seeking, obnoxious things as this.
    C. But what we do find is:
        1. People sharing with those in need
        2. Helping their neighbor
        3. Washing one another’s feet
        4. Serving one another
        5. Showing their love for one another
        6. Humbly correcting those in error and Reasoning with them about God
        7. Showing them Jesus with their lives
    D. This is how the early church grew
    E.  I am not saying a “Jesus” Tattoo, or bumper stickers or yard signs are sinful, but God hasn’t commanded these.
    F. He didn’t ask you to write His word on your car -  He said to write it on your Heart (Rom 10:8, Mark 4:15)
        1. The word written on your heart will make you different
            a. Rom.12:2 –Don’t be conformed, but be transformed

5. Jesus was different in the way he loved
    A. 1 Cor.13:4-8
        1. Does this sound like the people of this world?
        2. Does this sound like you?
    B. John 13:34,35
        1. We are to be different in the same way…in our love

6. Think of all the good people in the bible – those who are held up as examples for us, honored and esteemed –
    A. Examples:
        1. Remember David  (thru the stone at the Philistine Giant – when everyone  said he couldn’t be defeated)
            a. He was different.  He was the only one who trusted in the Lord to deliver them.
            b. God made him King
        2. Joshua – When all the people around him were serving the pagan idol’s of the land
            a. “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”
        3. Lot – living in the most corrupt city on earth – surrounded by wickedness continually
            a. did not yield or follow their ways – and God saved him
        4. Joseph of Arimathea – who did not consent to the Jewish counsel that crucified Jesus
            a. He asked Pilot for his body and buried Christ in his own tomb.
            a. (Luke 23:50-52)
     B. These are the people that are remembered.  These are the ones who, in the end, people respect and honor.
        1. Those who weren’t too afraid to be different
        2. Who didn’t follow the crowd but their own conscience
        3. Who did what they knew was right – even when it was against everyone else

7. Conclusion:
    A. Because, when you die - you’re not going to care how popular you were, how big the crowd was you followed.
    B. You aren’t going to care what other people thought of you
    C. You ARE going to care what Jesus thinks of you – very much.   In fact that’s all your going to care about.
    D. God doesn’t want us to look to the world for the solutions to our problems
    E. Or look to the world as an example, for the way we are to be
    F. He wants us to look to Him
    G. So let’s Stand up for what we believe…Practice what we know is right
    H. Let’s Be Different!

Christian Entertainment

Introduction:

What would you think of Christians who would drive to church talking about how wonderful fornication, hatred, vengeance, greed, drunkenness, etc. are and get out go in and worship God, and as they drove away, as soon as they get in the car, began to praise these things again?  Or what about a group of young Christians gathering to listen to someone talk about how wonderful and exciting fornication, hatred, vengeance, greed, drunkenness, etc. are and then spend 30 minutes talking about how wonderful the person’s speech was?  Brothers and sisters, this happens among young Christians all of the time.  When?  Where?  In the music they listen to, the TV shows and Movies they watch.

How serious is your commitment to Jesus Christ?  Just what would you be willing to give up for Jesus?  Would you be willing to change every aspect of your life if He wants you to?  Is there anything in your life that you would refuse to change?  Anything that you wouldn’t give up?  Would you die for Jesus?  Would you suffer shame and humiliation to stand up for Him and His principles of life?  Would you give up your most cherished possession?  Would you be willing to be considered a "radical" or a "weirdo" in order to serve Him as He desires?  With this thought in mind, let’s consider what God’s word teaches about our entertainment.

1.     God's Word Speaks To The Question Of Music.

A.      Eph.5:18,19 "...singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."

B.      Ps.40:3 "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God..."

C.      Col.3:16,17 "...singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord"

2.     Godly Music Effects Our Spirit.

A.      1 Sam.16:23 "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."

3.     Evil Music Notoriously Accompanies Sinful Practices.

A.      Ex.32:17-19 "And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.  And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout in mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.  And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and break them beneath the mount."

4.     Some Tests Of Right Music:

A.      Test the Spirit (teachings) of the music.

1.       1 Jn.4:1-3  Test the teachings

2.       1 Tim.6:3-5  Those who teach unwholesome words

3.       Comparisons of Good and Evil Music:

1.       Good Music:

a.       Speaks truth about life.

b.       Glorifies God and righteous living.

c.       Decries evil and unrighteous living.

2.       Evil Music:

a.       Speaks Lies about life.

b.       Glorifies rebellion and evil living.

c.       Mocks God and righteousness.

B.      Test the Fruit (Results) of the music.

1.       Matthew 7:16-20  "By their fruit ye shall know them."

2.       James 3:9-13  Search for consistency in the character of those involved.

3.       1 Sam.16:23  Do you see the distressing attitude in these people?

4.       Where to look for it's fruit:

a.       In the words & actions of the performers.

b.       In the words & actions of the D.J.'s.

c.       In the words & actions of the listeners.

d.       In the setting it is usually associated with.

e.       In the types of advertisements they carry. (This shows what type of people are associated with this type of music.  For instance, do they regularly advertise drinking clubs and wet T-shirt contests?)

5.       What fruit to look for:

a.       Sensuality (lust, sex)

b.       Pride

c.       Rebellion

d.       Greed

e.       Bitterness

f.       Deceit

g.       Vulgarity (esp. in humor)

h.       Any unrighteous style of living

5.     Other Scriptural Considerations:

A.      Pleasure in the evil of others (which can be exhibited in a love of sinful music) is sinful.

1.       Romans 1:28-32  (Notice especially vs. 32)

B.      Fascination with stories of evil (which can be exhibited in a love of sinful music) is sinful.

1.       Eph.5:8-12

2.       Rom.16:19

C.      We are to separate ourselves from all which is not Godly in its source and fruit.

1.       2 Cor.6:14-18

D.      Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

1.       Romans 12:1,2

6.     Self-examination In Light Of These Biblical Principles.

A.      Do you enjoy music, TV shows, Movies, etc. that mock and scorn the Christian principles that you claim to hold dear?

B.      Do you justify unrighteous music with the excuse "I never listen to the words?"  What does 1 Jn.4:1-3 say about that?

C.      Do the D.J.'s on the radio stations you listen to take pleasure in vulgar jokes, & songs, or spending time discussing sex in a less than biblical perspective? (ie. do they enjoy discussing lust, adultery, & fornication)

D.      What do you know about the lives of those who perform and listen to the music as a group of people?  Are they generally rebellious? Lustful? Hateful? Covetously motivated?  Do you wish to be associated with that type of person?  Does Christ want you to be considered as that type of person by those who don't know you well?

E.      Do you ever lift up your voice in songs of praise and worship to God and Jesus?  Privately?  With other Christians (outside of church?) Do you sing during the worship assembly?

F.      Do you condemn the "Heavy Metal" music of others while enjoying George Strait singing about the pleasures of adultery and drunkenness? (Rom.2:1-3)

G.      This is a question that no-one can decide for others (except parents for children.)

7.     What To Do If You Like Music Which Fails The Tests Of God's Purity?

A.      Repent of listening to it. (Acts 8)

B.      Get rid of all of your tapes, records, videos, etc. of that type of music.

C.      Ask God's forgiveness (1 Jn.1:9)

D.      Learn to hate evil (including music which doesn’t agree with God's purposes and principles for your life.)

Proverbs 8:13  The fear of the Lord is to hate evil

 

Confessing your sins to God

Psalm 51

 1. Sin is Universal
    A. Sins of Commission  Lk.15:13
        1. We are all aware of sin within our lives and communities we are not proud of
    B. Sins of Omission  Lk.10:31,32
    C. “Respectable” sins  (We consider insignificant, ie. Envy, Pride, Greed, etc.)
2. Who is to Blame for our sins?
    A. Where the blame doesn’t lie
        1. The environment we were raised in
        2. Other people  Gn.3:9-13
        3. God  Job.2:6-9
    B. We are to blame for our own sin!  Jas.1:12-15; Isa.59:1-3; Rom.3:10,11
3. The sins of David  2 Sam.11,12
    A. Lust
    B. Adultery
    C. Lying
    D. Planning Murder
4. How to Confess your sins to God  Psa.51:1-19
    A. Plead for God’s mercy & love  (v.1,2)
        1. Jn.3:16; Psa.103:8
        2. He’s not interested in your spiritual resume
    B. Acknowledge our sin (v.3,4)
    C. Understand where we are in life & where God wants us to be (v.5,6)
        1. Vs. 5 = we are prone to sin, not born sinners
        2. 2 Pet.3:9
        3. Do you have spiritual plans of where you want to be in 5 yrs?
        4. Do you know where you are spiritually now?
    D. Pray for complete renewal & regeneration (v.7-12)
        1. Must replace win with something, it’s no good to ask for a blank slate.
            a. Create in me a clean heart
            b. Renew within me a right spirit
            c. Restore the joy of my salvation
            d. Uphold me with your spirit
    E. Dedicate your life in service to God (v.13-19)
        1. Teach, sing, praise, sacrifice
        2. Rom.12:1,2
        3. Psa.32
5. Conclusion:
    A. Have you ever confessed your sin to God the way David did in Psa.51?
    B. What about tonight?  Would you come to Jesus, confessing your sin?

Fear God

Mt. 10:28 Jesus taught us that we must not fear man but fear God. A casual observance of the sin that runs rampant in peoples lives, and sometimes in the church, we can see there is not enough fear of God.

The Definition Of Fear:

     Ps. 119:120 (David defines his fear of God as involving being afraid and trembling!)

     Heb. 12:28-29 (Some define fear as reverence but this shows you must have a fear that goes beyond mere respect.)

    1 Jn. 4:18 (What kind of fear is cast out by love? Does this mean the more you love the less you fear? Is this even talking about fear of God?)

     Exo. 20:18-20 (When Israel ran from God they were told to fear not. Then God proposed to teach them appropriate fear that would cause them to avoid sin, not try to hide.)

Exactly What Should You Fear:

    Prov. 15:3 (God sees all that you think and do. There is nothing you do that he is not aware of.)

     2 Cor. 5:10 (You will appear before God in judgment and answer for everything you have done.)

What Godly Fear Will Do For You:

    1. Begin Knowledge: Prov. 1:7 (Your spiritual knowledge will not blossom until you have a proper fear of God.)

    2. Depart From Evil: Prov. 16:6 (Fear of God is essential in defeating evil in your life.)

    3. Perfects Holiness2 Cor. 7:1 (Fear will help you perfect you holy walk for the Lord.)

    4. Persuade The Lost2 Cor. 5:11 (Paul used the fear of God to convert the lost.) Jude :22-23 (Though some must be persuaded gently, others must be pulled from the fire by the threat of God's terror.)

Symptoms Of A Lack Of Fear:

    1. Refusal To Be Instructed: Prov. 1:7 (It is a fool that does not fear God but rather refuses to be corrected. If you refuse instruction, you do not have enough fear of God.)

    2. Immorality: Rom. 3:10-18 (The condition of these grossly immoral people was finally described as not fearing God. If you have immorality in your life, you need to be more afraid of God.)

Creating Proper Fear:

    1. Rebuke1 Tim. 5:20 (Timothy was told to rebuke in the presence of others, elders that sin, in order to cause others to fear.)

    2. Realization of God's Wrath Against Sin: Acts 5:1-5 (others learned to fear when they saw God's wrath against these two liars.)

    3. Study God's Word: Deut. 17:19 (Consistent study of God's word teaches you proper fear for God.)

Failure To Fear Invokes God's Wrath:

    2 Kings 17:25 (Because these people did not fear God, he brought about their destruction.)

    Eccl. 12:13-14 (You must fear God because you will stand before him in judgment.)

    Mt. 10:28 (You must fear God because he is capable of casting you into hell!)

Five aspects of the love of Christ

Jn.13:34,35

1. Introduction:
    A. The Love of Christ is known the world over.  Christ is the standard by which all love must be compared
        1. We want to examine the Love of Christ in our lesson today.
    B. Love is the greatest commandment in scripture:
        1. Matt.22:37-40
            a. All commands of Scripture are aimed at teaching us how to love God and each other.
        2. Rom.13:9
            a. Love obviously will treat others right.
            b. If I love you, I won’t steal from you, lie or gossip about you, be rude to you, exclude you, etc.
    C. It matters to God HOW we show our love to each other:
        1. 1 John 3:18
            a. Love is not just something we “think or feel” it is something we DO.
        2. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a
            a. Vs.1-3 show that love is not just good deeds, even giving all you own to feed the poor.
            b. The problem is that any deed can come from good or bad motives.
                1) You may be nice to someone because you care about them, or because you want something.
            c. Vs.4-8a show that love is not emotion, for emotion is easily provoked, does seek its own, etc.
            d. Together these verses show that love is an attitude.  Love is the way that we approach each other.
    D. We have a New commandment to love each other.
        1. John 13:33,34
        2. What is new is the perfect example of love that Jesus left us. “As I have loved you

2. What can we learn about Love from Christ?
    A. Christ loved everyone.
        1. Jn.15:13
    B. Christ even loved his enemies
        1. Matt.5:43,44
            a. When did you last bless (speak good and kind to or about) someone who cursed at you?
            b. Do you daily pray for those who mistreat and take advantage of you?
        2. Luke 23:34
            a. “father forgive them” (those who had just nailed him to a cross)
        3. Some protest that Jesus could do things I can’t because he was/is God.
            a. Remember Stephen?  He wasn’t God yet he prayed just as did Jesus:
            b. “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (of those who were stoning him)  Acts 7:60
        4. Rom.12:20
            a. It is not a matter of  “whumping up warm fuzzies” for our enemies, it is a matter of doing good.
    C. Christ’s love was unconditional
        1. Romans 5:8
            a. “While we were yet sinners”, not “since we were so loveable”.
            b. My love for my children is unconditional.
            c. Whereas they could do certain things to get kicked out of my house, I will always love them.
    D. Christ’s love is the standard for love in the home:
        1. Eph.5:25
            a. That means, give them the big piece of candy.  Spend the extra $ on them, etc.
    E. Christ’s love was very costly and not often “fun”.  It was not an emotional high feeling.
        1. Gal.2:20
            a. Jesus didn’t “feel good” about going to the cross.
            b. He didn’t enjoy sleeping on rocks, etc.  But he loved us enough to do it anyway.
            c. Love is based on choice and commitment, not how good it makes us feel.
            d. Your wedding vows were “for better or worse” not “for better or I’m outta here”
    F. Christ’s love included rebuke & discipline:
        1. Luke 23:33
            a. Can you imagine how hurtful this was to Peter?  Do you think Christ didn’t love him anymore?
            b. We know Jesus loved him, but at this moment rebuke was needed.
        2. Heb.12:4,5
            a. Discipline is never enjoyable, but it produces godliness
            b. Which is desperately needed and greatly enjoyable.

3. Closing:
    A. Remember your love is to be measured by (at least) these five aspects.
        1. Do you love even your enemies?
        2. Is your love unconditional?
        3. Do you imitate Christ in your love?
        4. Will your love endure the emotionally difficult times?
        5. Do you love enough to compassionately confront others?

Forgiveness

Introduction: Acts 24:16 (You should seek good relations with God and your fellow man. This involves keeping problems resolved and offenses cleared.) Mt. 5:23-24 (Failure to do so can hinder your worship.)

1. Forgiveness From God:

     1. The Nature Of God’s Forgiveness: Heb. 8:12, Ps. 79:8 (God’s forgiveness is essentially a promise to not hold our past sins against us.)

     2. God’s Forgiveness Is Conditional: Ps. 34:18 (Being forgiven is conditional on being contrite and obedient to God’s will.)

     3. God’s Forgiveness Is Total: Jer. 50:20 (When God forgives, he forgives totally. No record of the wrong can be found.)

     4. God’s Forgiveness Is Through Christ: Eph. 4:32, Rev. 1:5, 2 Cor. 5:20-21 (God forgives us through Christ. Our sins are washed away in his blood. Our debt is paid by his death.)

2. Forgiving One Who Repents:

     1. Forgiveness Is Conditional On Repentance: Lk. 17:3-4 (Our forgiveness should be unlimited&ldots; to those who repent.)

     2. Rebuke: Prov. 27:5, Prov. 28:23 (It may sound odd, but we pursue and maintain peace with each other, in part by rebuking when there is a wrong. This is an essential step in forgiveness. You should rebuke to achieve the offending party’s repentance.)

     3. Repentance Is Total: 2 Cor. 7:8-11 (Repentance is not just being "sorry" for what you did. It involves a commitment to change and do better.)

     4. You’d Better Do It: Mt. 18:21-35, Mk. 11:25-26 (You must forgive those who seek your forgiveness, or God will not forgive you.)

     5. It Is Good For You: Prov. 11:17 (Forgiving others will make you a better, happier person.)

     6. It Is Glorious: Prov. 19:11 (It is a glorious and beautiful thing in God’s sight when we forgive those who repent.)

     7. Have You Done The Same: Eccl. 7:21-22 (Asking yourself if you done the same thing to others that has made you angry will help you to forgive.)

     8. Look For Good: Gen. 45:5-15, Gen. 50:19-21 (Joseph looked for good in his misfortune. That can help you forgive others, even when being angry might seem justifiable or understandable.)

3. What About One Who Will Not Repent:

     1. You Must Not Seek Revenge: Prov. 24:29 (God is very clear he doesn’t want us to seek revenge.)

     2. Don’t Wish Them Ill: Prov. 24:17 (You must not wish ill toward your enemies, or rejoice in their suffering.)

     3. Don’t Indulge Feelings Of Malice: Rom. 1:29-32, Eph. 4:31 (God numbers malice with the most terrible sins. We must put that away and replace it with kindness and an attitude of love.)

     4. Don’t Dwell On Your Anger: Eph. 4:26 (It’s okay to be angry, but don’t act on your anger, and don’t stay angry.)

     5. Avoid Problem People: 2 Tim. 3:1-5 (Instead of forgiving someone in such sin, you must control your anger but avoid the problem people.)

     6. Trust God: 1 Sam. 24:10-12 (You must trust God to resolve the inequities of life. Trust him to deal with those who are in sin and don’t take the matter in your own hands.)

God's Israel

Introduction: Rom. 11:25-27 (Some use this passage to suggest that at the end of time during a thousand year reign of Christ many Jews will become Christians. Others add that all Israelites will be resurrected and given a "second chance" to be saved. These ideas are wrong and very dangerous. In this lesson we will study God’s Israel in order to understand the true meaning of this context.)

A. God’s Israel In The Past:

    1. The Promise: Gen. 12:1-3 (God promised Abraham that his descendants would comprise a great nation, a special people to God.)

    2. Israel: Exo. 19:5-6, Deut. 7:6-9 (God told Israel they were his special people. If they would keep the law, he would maintain them as his chosen people above all nations.)

B. God’s Israel Rejected Him:

    1. Failed To Keep The Law: Acts 15:10, Gal. 6:13 (Israel failed to remain faithful to their covenant with God.)

    2. Same Attitude Caused Rejection Of Christ: Acts 7:51-53 (Stephen spoke of their failure to keep the law and connected that with their rejection of Christ. The same attitude caused both problems.)

C. What Happened To Those Who Rejected Him:

    1. Kicked Out Of God’s Kingdom: Mt. 21:43 (Jesus clearly tells unbelieving Israelites God’s kingdom would be taken from them.)

    2. Failed To Enter New Kingdom: Mt. 23:13 (Jesus spoke of those who did not believe as refusing to enter God’s kingdom.)

     3. Cut Off Because Of Unbelief: Rom. 11:19-20 (Israel was cut off because of their unbelief. Their rejection of Christ excluded them from this new kingdom.)

D. What Happened To Believing Israelites:

     1. Had To Repent And Believe: Mk. 1:14-15 (In order to have part in the new kingdom, Israel had to change their way of thinking regarding the Messiah. This would pave the way for their acceptance of Christ.)

     2. Baptized With John’s Baptism: Lk. 3:3, Acts 19:4 (John’s was a baptism of repentance, insisting the Jews change their thinking and accept the Messiah was soon coming. Those who did this had their sins forgiven.)

     3. Part Of The New Kingdom: Rom. 11:1-5, 17 (The Jews who believed were of the "remnant" who would be saved. God said "some", not all of Israel was cut off. Those who believed in Christ were not cut off.)

E. Unbelieving Israelites Can Be Grafted Back In:

     1. Must Change Attitude: Rom. 11:23-24 (If they would give up their unbelieving attitudes they can be grafted back into God’s kingdom.)

     2. Case In Point: Acts 2:36-38 (Peter’s admonition on Pentecost serves as a good example of what Israelites must do. They must repent, change their attitude about Christ, and be baptized.)

F. Gentiles Can Come In Too:

     1. God’s Plan All Along: Gen. 22:18 (It was God’s plan from the outset that Abraham’s seed, Christ, would bless all nations with salvation.) Jn. 10:16, Jn. 11:50-52 (Jesus taught this when he spoke of other sheep not of Israel. The high priest prophesied Christ would die for more than just Israel.)

     2. Kingdom Given To Us: Mt. 21:43 (When the kingdom was taken from unbelieving Jews it was given to believing Gentiles.)

     3. Case In Point: Acts 10:34-35, 47-48 (Peter taught these Gentiles the same plan he taught to Jews who murdered Christ.)

     4. Same Status As Believing Israel: Acts 15:7-9 (Unlike under Moses’ law, today there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. We are all part of God’s people.)

G. God’s Israel Today: Rom. 9:6, Gal. 6:16 (Today those who are God’s children, members of the kingdom, constitute God’s Israel.)

H. The Same Plan For All: Gal. 3:26-29, Rom. 11:25-27 (We all become God’s children by the same process. That is the meaning of our text. "So" is an adverb of manner. It’s not telling us how many Israelites will be saved, but the manner by which they will be saved. Note that no body literally believes every last Israelite will be saved. The passage teaches all Israel is saved by the same plan by which Gentiles come into the kingdom.)

Conclusion: Heb. 9:27 (First, this shows us the premillennial slant and the second chance doctrine is wrong. We die once and after that there is the judgment.) Rom. 11:21-22, Heb. 3:12-13 (Second, what happened to unbelieving Israel should be a sober warning to us that we should be careful not to fall.)

Happiness

1. God Wants You To Be Happy:

     1. Commanded: Phil. 4:4 (God commands us to rejoice. This is a command to be a person of happy disposition.)

     2. Good For You: Prov. 15:13 (As with all of God's moral requirements, his requirement that we be happy and cheerful is best for us.)

2. Happiness In Spiritual Blessings:

     1. Being Forgiven: Rom. 4:6-8 (David's joy was based on knowing he was in good standing with God. You should base your happiness in the same.)

     2. Names Written In Heaven: Lk. 10:20 (Jesus told his disciples not to base their joy on any miraculous ability they had, but on the fact they were saved. You shouldn't base your happiness on external circumstances that can change so swiftly. You should base your joy and peace of mind on the fact you are saved.)

3. No Happiness In The Flesh:

     1. Flesh Cannot Be Satisfied: Eccl. 5:10 (The flesh is such that it cannot be satisfied. Therefore, seeking happiness in the flesh cannot work. The flesh will always demand more.)

     2. In Spite Of Circumstances: Heb. 12:2 (Jesus despised the shameful circumstance of his death on the cross. He was still happy, in spite of these bad circumstances, because of the hope set before him.)

4. The Steps To Follow:

     1. Beatitudes: Mt. 5:3-12 (Jesus gives these characteristics as steps to blessedness or happiness. Note these all point to spiritual reward, not carnal happiness.)

     2. Paul's Example: Phil. 4:5-8 (Paul lists moderation, anxiety control, prayer, and positive thoughts as a means to rejoice and find peace of mind.)

Conclusion: (Pain and suffering is inevitable, misery is optional. We cannot completely avoid sad situations in life. Our choice is how we handle these things. Happiness is a choice. You can choose to properly respond to difficulty and build a happy, positive attitude. Help yourself to happiness.)

He is not here

Matthew 28:1-8

1. Introduction:
    A. Story of Matt.28:1-8
        1. They were looking in the wrong place to find the Lord
        2. He was risen, he was not where they expected
    B. Many people look for truth and fulfillment in the wrong places
    C. Today, I want to consider some of the wrong places people look for spiritual truth and fulfillment:

2. Places you will not find Spiritual Truth and fulfillment
    A. Image Worship
        1. Acts 19:23ff
        2. Exodus 32:1-9
    B. Nature Worship
        1. 2 Kings 23
    C. Creature Worship
        1. Romans 1:18ff
    D. Hero Worship
        1. Acts 12:21-24
        2. Acts 14:8-18
    E. Pleasure Worship
        1. 2 Timothy 3:4
        2. 1 Corinthians 10:7
    F. Money Worship
        1. Matthew 6:19-24
        2. Colossians 3:5
            a. Which brings us full circle back to Image worship (Idolatry)

3. He is Risen…
    A. Spiritual truth and fulfillment is only found in the Lord Jesus, who is risen from the dead.
    B. Some of the things you will find in Him:
        1. Rest – Matthew 11:28
        2. Life – John 10:10
        3. Love – John 15:13
        4. New Birth – John 3:1-6
        5. Salvation – Mark 16:15,16
        6. A Place in Heaven – John 14:1-3

4. Conclusion:
    A. You will find Jesus in His church – Acts 2:46
    B. Division of time:
        1. 168 hours in a week
        2. Averages:
            a. 56 hours sleeping
            b. 60 hours working
            c. 18 hours on self (eating, bath, etc.)
            d. Leaves 34 hours of discretionary time
        3. Now, in that 34 hours, we fit the rest of our life, mowing, driving, cards, TV, and church related activities.
        4. How does God fare in the slice of pie that represents the time you give Him each week?
    C. What you spend your time on is what you spend your life on, that's what your life is about
        1. What do you worship with your time (life)?

How to Build Godly Influence

1) INTRODUCTION:

A) Mt 5:13-16 - In most cases, the greatest power we can have over another is influence - salt & light. But we need to know that our influence can be either good or bad!
B) I Tim 4:12 - the great thing about our influence is that we get to choose what kind of influence we are going to have. What makes your influence the most powerful is:
1) CONSISTENCY! When people around you know what you are going to do every time!!!
2) CLARITY - When people can see/hear what you are going to do.

2) GOOD OR BAD INFLUENCE:

A) Good Examples:
1) Acts 9:36-39 - Dorcus's influence was so great that people were greatly moved by her death.
2) II Cor 9:22 - the willingness to help of those in Corinth was an influencing factor in the zeal that was brought by others.
3) I Cor 7:16 - In admonition to not leave an unbelieving spouse, Paul informs us that how we lead our life could be an influencing factor in the salvation of others.
4) Joshua 24:31 - Joshua's life influence was such that it caused a whole nation to follow God.

B) Bad Examples:
1) II Kings 21:1-9 - Manasseh's influence was such that it did just the opposite of Joshua's.
2) I Kings 11:1-4 - Solomon made a bad choice and allowed those around him to influence him to turn away from God.
3) Mt 23:13 - The Pharisees caused many Jews to fall away.
4) Eccl 9:18 -It doesn't take a lot to destroy. Your influence can destroy those around you.

C) How do I know what kind of Influence I have?
1) What kind of fruit do you bear (Jn 15:8).
2) What kind of friends do you have ( I Cor 15:33) - what type of people desire to be around you.
3) How do others speak of you (I Tim 5:24-25) - your reputation is created by the influence you have.

3) HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR INFLUENCE:

A) CONSISTENT LIFE - Rm 12:1-2. When we sometimes live as a sacrifice and sometimes live in the world, we paint a confused picture. Phil 1:27 - our life should be so consistent that no matter who is or is not around, we are going to live the same way.
B) CLARITY OF LIFE - Our life's message to the world doesn't not need to be confused with wavering back and forth. Rather it should stand with the clear message of the Bible. Eph 4:14-15. For this to happen we must grow. Grow so that others see the life of Christ in us (I Cor 11:1)

4) CONCLUSION:

A) God has a purpose for your life - Eph 2:10; I Pet 2:12 - you influence can either hinder or help!
B) Heb 11:4 - your influence will last longer than your life (children, family, friends, etc.) How will you use this influence?

How to Encourage One Another

1. Introduction:

A. The story of the deaf frog in the pit in the forest (he couldn't hear the discouraging whining of the other frogs in the pit so he didn't know he couldn't get out...and he escaped)
B. That's what encouragement does. You & I are most likely the product of a great amount of encouragement.

1. Parents
2. Church leaders
3. When I hold a meeting...Tired but encouraged.

C. Heb.10:24,25

1. Encouragement is so important that the Lord designed for us to gather weekly, at least in part to encourage each other.

D. So let's see what the Bible has to say about encouragement.

2. What is encouragement?

A. Parakaleo is from the combination of two words:

1. Kaleo = "To Call"
2. Para = "Alongside"
3. John 14:16 -The helper, the comforter

B. God has called us alongside of each other to help each other.

1. Inspire each other to courage, give each other determination.
2. When Don told me "I'm with you all the way"

3. Why Do We Need Encouragement?

A. I can't make it alone, and neither can you.

1. It is not good that man should be alone - Gen.2:18
2. Preacher at City Jail talking about how each of us need others. One huge, grizzled man said "I don't need anyone".
3. Preacher acknowledged him and said "we all know what friends are, they are people you can count on when you need help, and we all have friends, except John, he doesn't have any friends, because he doesn't need anyone.; people you talk to, people you share your burdens with, etc.
4. We all need others. No-one can make it alone.

B. You are too close to your own problems.

1. We all have blind spots. How many of us can clearly see the answers to our problems.
2. The way of a man is right in his own eyes...
3. In the multitude of counselors there is much wisdom...

C. We need each other to help us stay "on track."

1. You started but now you're wavering, one day you're up the next you're down.
2. Where is it you find that needed encouragement, focus, help to stay on track?
3. You find it right here. With people who are headed to the same place, in the same direction, for the same reasons.
4. We are fellow travelers, with the same problems, struggles; you must travel with us, pick up out of the ditch, etc.
5. That's why God created his church, as a family.
6. Do you want to stay pure morally? Find someone here in the family to be accountable to.
7. Do you want to keep your Bible Study on track? Study together with a family member.
8. Come alongside of each other to encourage and be encouraged.

D. We have an excellent illustration of this in scripture:

4. Mr. Encouragement -A Bible story of a real person who lived. His name is Joseph (Joses), but most of us don't know him by that name, we know him as Barnabas.

A. His name means "encouragement", or Mr. Encouragement.
B. How did he encourage others?

1. Encouragement in finances. Acts 4:36-37

a. Remind about how the church started. Not intended, very young church financially pressed.
b. Do you know of situations where fellow Christians are in financial trouble?
c. 2 Cor.9:
d. I know several people in the church here that work this way. Some of you have encouraged the work of our Church with your check books.
e. You didn't just write a check, but you saw a need and you met it.
f. Our sign for example

2. Encouragement in fellowship. Acts 11:22-24

a. The young church didn't yet have the Bible, Elders, Deacons, Evangelists but they needed strength and encouragement.
b. The gospel began to spread, and soon a cong. was started in Antioch and news of this reached the Church in Jerusalem so they sent Barnabas.
c. He arrived, saw the evidence of the faith, he "encouraged them"
d. And a great number of people were added to the Lord.
e. This always happens with encouragers, people are added to Christ.
f. He had a gift to encourage people to be faithful to his new life; they had only been Christians days, not years.

3. Encouragement in service. Acts 11:25-26

a. They need leadership, so he heads to Tarsus for Saul.
b. Tell a bit about his history
c. Barnabas & Saul meet with them for a year
d. Called Christians first here in Antioch
e. Led to follow Jesus as soon as they were baptized.
f. He endorses Saul, began as Barnabas and Saul then becomes Paul & Barnabas.
g. We have people in this church like that. People who will always be willing to encourage others to step out and do their best, to build them up, to help them succeed, regardless of their personal reward for it.
h. Playing Baseball with Jericha - work to make her successful!

4. Encouragement in unity. Acts 15:30-35

a. This church (in Antioch) has a huge problem looming on the horizon...
b. Jews VS Gentiles, Conference in Jerusalem, letter written to Gentiles
c. They rejoiced over the encouragement of the letter Barnabas brings back.
d. There are people today that encourage in Unity.
e. Eph.4:4-8 - One faith, etc. We don't split God's family.

5. Encouragement in failure. Acts 13:13; 15:37-39

a. Neat story of Barnabas, His cousin, John Mark, (Col.4:10) leaves, he deserts Paul & Barnabas in Pamphilia.
b. We don't know why.
c. Barnabas still believes in him and gives him a second chance.
d. Don't you love people who will give you a second chance?
e. There are people out there who are just waiting for you to fall on your face, but there are also people who, when you fall are waiting right there with a hand saying, "You come with me, we're going to Cyprus to preach, I'll give you another chance".
f. Well if they're gonna be that way then they can't expect people to keep trying... [This is true with the world, it is not true with Christians]
g. All of us are here because someone gave us a chance we didn't deserve.
h. This is especially true of the chances you get from God - Rom.5:8-10
i. This young man (John Mark) blossomed under his second chance, and at length, we find Paul acknowledging this and asking him to come help him in the work. 2 Tim.4:9-11

5. Encouragement - How Can You Do It?

A. Heb.10:24 - "Let us consider how" to provoke one another to love and good works.
B. Do you know someone who really is in real financial need? Encourage them with your money.

1. Not all of you, but some of you can lift someone else's burden this week.
2. Elderly woman who left her farm to Church in care of the elders.
3. Norman, Bible fund, etc.
4. I receive anonymous support occasionally.
5. This is Barnabas.

C. Is there someone you can go to bat for or encourage with your fellowship.

1. Lunch, notes, calls, cards, pray with/for them follow up, speak up for them

D. Is there a work that needs to be done?

1. Walk around and look for something you can be doing. We are working on the kitchen, ask Yancey, who is heading this project up, what you can do to help and then do that!
2. Luane took our kids during marriage retreat.
3. "Why don't you & your wife go out tonight, we want to watch your kids".

E. Is there a relationship that needs mending or unity? Encourage with harmony.

1. Sometimes we get "at odds" with others. If you see that going on, go to those two people and help them.
2. True of churches also. Most splits are because someone didn't get their way, pride, anger, covered it with doctrine.

F. Do you know of someone who has been hurt by failure?

1. Divorce, they messed up in some way, etc. Instead of beating them over the head with a bat, encourage them.

G. Story is told of Mark, problem student, talked too much, kicked out, principle, taped mouth shut...

1. List of everything you know good about everyone in your class and compiled it.
2. He got quite a little list
3. Mark was killed in Vietnam
4. At funeral his father took Mark's wallet and removed a folded piece of paper...he had carried the list and had it with him when he died.

6. Conclusion:

A. No wonder God wants us to be a church of encouragement to one another!

1. I still remember words of encouragement spoken to me when I was young.
2. So, who are you encouraging?

 

How to be Content

Philippians 4:11

1. Introduction:

    A. Many times our favorite topics at parties, Bible studies, dinners, or any other time you get together with friends and/or family are our problems. How often have you heard (or participated in) the following conversation?

      Person 1: How was work today?

      Person 2: Oh, the same old grind, I just don't know how much longer I'll be able to put up with it. It just seems to be getting worse.

      Person 1: Yeah, I know what you mean, would you believe that they are only giving us two days off for Christmas?And don't even ask me about our Christmas bonus.

      Person 2: Christmas bonus, what Christmas bonus, those tightwads wouldn't even think of giving us a bonus, Of course they are taking a full week off but what can us little guys expect. You only exist so that they can make the real profit.

      Person 1: Well, if I could just get a transfer to a new department, then I wouldn't have to work with all those incompetents but as it is now, I do all my work and theirs too!And then come time for evaluation and they get better raises than I do!

      Person 2: Well I just want another job altogether, I just hate working where I do, no-one is really friendly, the pay is lousy, and they always make me do things their way which I know slows me down, and I get no respect or thanks for it when I get a job done.

    B. Are you content with your life?What about your job?Your finances?Your health?Or. . .

      1. Do you gripe and complain about all the things that are not `right' in your life?

      2. Are you discouraged because it seem that things just aren't working out the way you wanted?

      3. Does it ruin your day if something you had planned and really looked forward to falls through?

      4. Do little irritations nag at you until they cause your attitude to sour and take the joy out of your life?

      5. Does extra, unplanned, and urgent work or hassle get your goat and make you into a bear?Do you walk around as a roaring lion seeking whom you may devour?

      6. If any of this sounds familiar, this sermon is for you. I wish to talk about contentment.

    C. Contentment = Being satisfied with life, the absence of dissatisfaction.

      1. It is the natural enemy of jealousy, envy, greed, covetousness, selfishness, and discouragement.

    D. Two Frogs fell into a pail of milk

      1. One got discouraged and croaked

      2. The other thought, I may go down, but I'm going down fighting, and he kicked, and he kicked, and the next morning, they found him sitting on a pad of butter.

    E. I suggest to you this morning two things:

      1. That Christians have the greatest reasons in the world to be content and satisfied with their lives.

      2. Discontentment, griping, whining, bellyaching, murmuring, etc. are sinful.

2. How some in scripture handled trouble and/or problems

    A. How Paul Handled Trouble:

      1. 2 Cor. 11:23-33If anyone had trouble, it was Paul, but did he gripe & complain?

      2. Phs. 4:11-13No. He learned to be content in every situation.

        a. Acts 16:22-25Paul even sang in prison

        b. Notice that contentment was something Paul learned. It was not natural, it is learned.

        c. You all choose to be Glass half full or glass half empty types of people.

    B. How the Israelites handled trouble

      1. 1 Cor. 10:1-10They murmured and many of them died for it.

      2. This is our example that we should not murmur. God hates murmuring.

3. Some Reasons You Might Get Discouraged And Not Be Content In Life:

    A. You forget that you belong to God and that He has promised to design all things for your good.

      1. 1 Peter 1:18,19He purchased you with the Blood of Jesus

      2. Rom. 8:28All for good

      3. When you do that, you end up looking at the trouble instead of at God

        a. Num. 14:6-9Joshua & Caleb saw the Giants, but they also saw God

    B. You lose sight of the goal (some don’t even know the goal) ??? to be like Jesus

      1. Rom. 8:29To be like Christ

        a. He ordained that you would be like his son. That is how all things work together for good.

        b. Not that only good things would happen to you, but that in the end, you would come out of life thinking, talking, and acting like Jesus.

    C. You forget that God has promised to test your faith.

      1. 1 Pt. 4:12,13Rejoice in the fiery trial

    D. You may have a covetous heart

      1. 1 Tim. 6:8Be satisfied with food & clothes

      2. Heb. 13:5Be content with what you have

      3. Your heart should be filled with gratefulness

        a. 1 Thess. 5:18Always give thanks

      4. Avoid the sin of self-pity

        a. Rom. 12:1Living sacrifice

        b. You are to live as a servant of God and others, not of yourself

1. Conclusion:

    A. God has always hated that people complain and whine when they don't have or get what they want or think they deserved.

    B. His desire is for us to be content in any situation that you face. Phs. 4:11

    C. This morning I call on you to chose to be the second frog.

    D. Don't allow discouragement to get hold of you, but instead, look to Jesus.

    E. Your problems may be big, but God is bigger and He could stop them if He wanted.

    F. If they don't stop, that is because God is using them to develop in you some part of the Character of Jesus.

    G. Learn to trust God, He is good, He loves you, He is all powerful, nothing ever gets out of His control, and He has promised that all things will/do work together for good in your life.

    H. Your part is to trust God, and live your life in service to Him so that you may have His promises.

      1. Know that you belong to God

      2. Remember that He loves you

      3. Accept that this is for your own good

      4. Embrace the irritation/problem & rejoice

      5. Try to learn what you need to learn

      6. Guard your heart against covetousness

      7. Learn gratefulness

      8. Never, Never, Never indulge in self-pity

      9. Trust in the promise of God, don't embarrass Him by proclaiming your distrust by discouragement, hostility, etc.

How to be a good king

Introduction: Rev. 1:6 (The scriptures tell us that under the new covenant we are kings and priests for God. Under Moses’ law the kingly work and the priestly work was reserved for special tribes. But today we all share the responsibility of serving God in whatever way our abilities allow. Follows are some thoughts about Solomon’s function as king for Israel and some comparisons to how we can be better servants for God.)

1. Solomon’s Service: Deut. 17:14-20 (This is special instruction for the king of Israel. It tells him specific things he must do in order to be a successful king for God’s people. Note how Solomon followed these to some extent but eventually transgressed many of these principles.)

     1. Don’t Multiply Horses1 Kings 4:26, 1 Kings 10:28 (Solomon multiplied horses in his army. He went so far as to bring horses out of Egypt, something God didn’t want them to do.)

     2. Don’t Multiply Wives1 Kings 11:1-3 (Solomon multiplied his wives in the worst way. While God did allow some in that day to have more than one wife, Solomon practiced that to excess. These had an obvious negative effect on his service as they lead him after false gods.)

     3. Don’t Multiply Wealth1 Kings 12:4, 2 Chron. 9:27 (Solomon amassed great amounts of wealth in his kingdom. This was done on the backs of the people with a grievous tax burden.)

     4. Get Your Own Copy Of God’s Word: (I know of no specific statement that says Solomon made his own copy of the law. He did celebrate wisdom in Proverbs which causes us to believe he revered God’s word. He also gave great attention to how he built the temple which suggests he was following the pattern given in Moses’ law.)

     5. That The King May Follow God2 Chron. 1:7-12 (Solomon started out right. He didn’t aspire to wealth or power. He simply wanted to be a good leader of God’s people.) 1 Kings 11:4-8 (Later in life he lost that sense of focus. Solomon turned bad and followed pagan ways.)

     6. That His Days May Be Long: 1 Kings 11:11 (Though Solomon had a fairly long and prosperous life, the kingdom was divided because of his sinful ways. After his death ten tribes rebelled and separated to form the northern kingdom.)

2. Our Service:

     1. Old Sinful Habits: (God didn’t want Israel’s kings to go back to Egypt, from whence they had escaped bondage, to multiply horses for themselves. In similar fashion he does not want us to go back to old sinful habits, from whence we have escaped bondage, and live in those old ways.) Eph. 4:22-24 (God calls upon us to shun the sinful things from our former lives. We must consistently live as a changed, new person.)

     2. Letting Relationships Interfere:

        A. Family: Mt. 10:34-38 (We are challenged to love Christ even more than our own family. You must not allow influences from your spouse, parents, children or any other family hinder your service to Christ.)

        B. Friends: Prov. 13:20 (Solomon warns us that bad friendships can influence us in a bad way. You must not allow friendships to come between you and Christ.)

     3. Letting Possessions Interfere: Prov. 23:5, 1 Tim. 6:9-10 (The love of monetary things will produce all kinds of evil in your life. You must not let a craving for possessions pull you away from Christ.)

     4. Study God’s Word: Acts 17:11 (We must study God’s word regularly to acquaint ourselves with his will. This way we will know how to handle difficult situations that are sure to confront us.)

     5. Be A Devoted Follower: Mt. 22:37 (God calls us to love him with every fiber of our being. Such an all consuming love of God will surely cause us to be a devoted follower of him.

     6. The Promise Of Eternal Life: Rom. 8:18 (Whatever suffering we may face in our Christian service will pale in comparison to the splendid reward God has reserved for those who are faithful.)

Conclusion: (Solomon had a clear set of instructions to guide him in being a good king. As long as he followed them he was a good king. When he strayed he was no longer a good king. God has made you a king and a priest. You have a set of instructions to guide you. If you follow these instructions it will bring you to spiritual prosperity and a heavenly home. Don’t be like Solomon and loose sight of your way.)

I can't but God can

Introduction: Exo. 3:11-12, 4:1-2, 4:10-15 (God wanted Moses to take a leading role in getting the children of Israel out of Egyptian captivity. Moses had no confidence in his ability to handle the task. God showed him he would be with him and help him complete the task. Life is like this for us. We sometimes tremble before the things we are called upon to do for God. We realize we can’t do all we need to do. Though we can’t, God can. Be sure that God will see to it we are able to do what we must do.)

1. Filling A Special Work In The Church: (Whether it be elder, deacon, evangelist, teacher or some other work in the church, it challenges us. It might be you feel inadequate to the task. These examples show how we must do what we can with what we have.)

     1. Paul: 1 Cor. 2:1, 2 Cor. 10:10, 11:6 (Paul had some kind of difficulty with his speech. It appears he was not an eloquent orator or that his speech sounded uneducated. However, there is no question of how effective he was in God’s work.)

     2. David: 1 Sam. 17:31-37 (David was just a young boy. It appeared he was not up to the task before him, but with a few stones and much faith in God he defeated Goliath and eventually became king.)

     3. Elijah: 1 Kings 19:9-12, 18 (Elijah was discouraged and in hiding. He felt so outnumbered, that everyone else wanted to serve idols and he was the only faithful one left in Israel. God showed Elijah that sometimes his presence and blessings are seen in the smaller things of life, such as Elijah’s small voice. God further showed Elijah he was not alone and so he was able to pursue his work as a prophet.)

2. Being A Good Wife To A Special Worker: (Embracing the role of wife to an elder, deacon or a preacher is an enormous challenge. The scriptures supply examples of women who were limited in their abilities, ambitions and opportunities, but they did what they could.)

     1. Zipporah: Exo. 4:24-26 (It appears Moses had neglected to circumcise one of his sons. According to Gen. 17:14 this was a serious breach of covenant. God appears to have smitten Moses with illness as a penalty for this. To save his life and comply with God’s will, Zipporah circumcised her son. She did what she had to do, even when it was very unpleasant.)

     2. Rebecca: Gen. 24:67 (When she became Isaac’s wife, she was able to fill a void left by the death of his mother. This is not something easy to do, but her tender affection gave him comfort after such a difficult loss.)

     3. Ruth: Ruth 2:1-4, 10-12, Ruth 3:10-11 (By her loyalty and work ethic, she demonstrated her worthiness as a faithful woman. Ultimately she was rewarded with the faithful affections of Boaz as her husband.)

     4. Priscilla: Acts 18:24-26, Rom. 16:3-4 (Priscilla stepped in when it was appropriate for her. She could not teach in the assembly, but she made a real difference outside the assembly. Her influence was such that her husbands name is not mentioned without hers. As a couple they were beloved of the church for courage and faith which she had as much as Aquila.)

3. Being A Faithful Christian: (Sometimes we feel like Christianity demands more of us than we can deliver. The following examples show us how people can persevere beyond their normal abilities and inclinations.)

     1. Peter: Lk. 5:4-10 (When Peter saw the power of Christ he felt unworthy and wanted Jesus to separate from him. Jesus reassured him not to fear. With Christ’s help, Peter would become a fisher of men.)

     2. Christ’s Invitation: Mt. 11:28-30 (When Christ invites us to live the Christian life, he is not asking the impossible of us. He offers an easy yoke and a light burden, compared to that of sin. Though the path is often fraught with difficulty, it is not impossible to live up to God’s expectations and be a good Christian.) 

4. Some Positive Thoughts: (The previous observations encourage us, but they are specific in nature. These general thoughts should help us all, no matter what you need to accomplish for the cause of God.)

     1. Fearfully And Wonderfully Made: Ps. 139:14 (David celebrated the fact God made man with great strength and potential. This is to the praise of God and not man. God made us with much greater strength and abilities that we sometimes realize.)

     2. With God All Things Are Possible: Lk. 18:24-27 (We must remember that if God wants us to do something, he can make it possible for us to do it.)

     3. I Can Do All Things Through Christ: Phil. 4:13 (Paul had a "can do" attitude, realizing he could do whatever he needed through Christ.)

     4. Not Wrong To Realize Your Inadequacies: 2 Chron. 1:8-12 (It is okay to realize areas where we are weak or inadequate. Solomon felt inadequate to be king of Israel. Realizing that led him to pray for wisdom. Realizing our weaknesses can help us a great deal. Concentrating on them too much, however, can cause us to doubt when we should have faith.)

     5. God Gives The Increase: 1 Cor. 3:5-9 (We must remember that good result does not necessarily rely on our skilled performance. God gives the increase and blessings. It can be done through our hands when we in faith seek to accomplish his purpose.)

Conclusion: (God has shown us abundantly that we can accomplish what he needs us to. Often we accomplish, with God’s help, much more than we ever thought possible. We need to just focus on being the type of person he wants us to be. Then we can watch in amazement as he carries to heights we never dreamed possible. This is about faith and confidence, not in ourselves, but in God that he will supply what we need to do his will. God will not necessarily stir creation with his miracle stick, but when we obey his will good things happen.)

If this day we be examined of the good deed done...

Introduction: Acts 4:9-10 (Peter and John were on trial by the Jews. The Jews were displeased that the apostles were preaching in Jesus’ name. Peter exposes their bad attitude by showing they were criticizing him and John for helping the lame man in the previous chapter. Let’s consider this story and see what principles of godly living we might learn from it.)

1. The Principle: Jn. 15:18-19, 1 Jn. 3:13 (Jesus taught his disciples that we will be hated by worldly people if we follow him. John echoed those sentiments. We need to understand that the more we represent Christ to the world, the more worldly minded people will despise us. This is what happened to Peter and John. Because they were doing what was right in helping a man and in preaching Jesus, worldly minded unbelievers despised them.)

2. Examples: 1 Pet. 4:1-4 (The scriptures teach many different examples of being despised by the world for doing what is right. This passage shows we may be ridiculed for holding to moral standards. Note these other examples and see what they teach us about why worldly people behave this way.)

    1. Abel: Gen. 4:1-8 (Cain despised his brother Abel. Why? Abel only wanted to do what was right and please God. How could anybody not like such a person? Abel was a reproach to Cain in that his good sacrifice exposed Cain’s error in not worshipping God properly. Furthermore, Cain was jealous of the acceptance Abel received from God. These two factors, jealousy and reproach, are common to the stories we will examine.)

    2. David1 Sam. 18:6-9 (David was loyal to Saul in every way, yet Saul come to despise him. Why? Because David reproached Saul in having the faith and courage the king should have had. Also, Saul was jealous of the recognition David received from others for slaying Goliath.)

    3. Daniel: Dan. 6:1-5 (Daniel’s only crime was being diligent in his work. He wanted to be good at the job given to him. His coworkers despised him and tried to have him killed. Why? Because they were jealous of the success he had and were reproached by his dutiful attitude.)

3. What To Do: 1 Cor. 4:11-13 (Paul and company set an excellent example of how to react when others treat us in this way. They reacted to each negative treatment with positive action. When spoken against they spoke well of others. When persecuted they endured it. When their reputation was attacked they plead their case. In similar fashion we must react to rejection and hate from worldly people by being faithful in following the will of Christ. Note the following specifics that are consistent with this principle.)

    1. Rejoice: Lk. 6:22-23 (Jesus teaches us to rejoice when others treat us badly for his sake. This is consistent with the principle of reacting in a positive way to negative treatment.)

    2. Remember Godly Principles: Ps. 119:141 (David pledged to remember godly principles when others mistreated him.)

    3. What Peter And John Did: Acts 4:9-10, 19-20 (Peter and John reacted by making their case clear and continuing their positive work of preaching Christ.)

Conclusion: (Though it is hard, we must not despair when difficulty confronts us. Remember, Jesus was hated most for what he did best. By persisting in his work, even in the face of the most awful opposition, he made this world a better place and made heaven a possibility. You too can make the world a better place. And you can also help lead some into heaven by persisting in the face of resistance from the world.)

Learning from Judas

Acts 1:15-26 

1.     Introduction:

A.     Judas

1.      Was one of the original apostles and spent 3 years side by side with Jesus.

2.      However, he chose to betray Christ for money and give up his good standing.

3.      Having fallen away, he was consumed by guilt and took his own life.

B.     Today we will consider some valuable lessons we can learn from this man and his life.

2.     Satan Loves a Wicked Heart:

A.      Judas had a problem

1.      But it wasn’t a problem of being an obviously vile and wicked man

a.       Notice that they didn’t immediately point at Judas - Lk.22:21-23

2.      Judas Was A Thief: Jn. 12:1-6

3.      It was the simple problem of greed.

a.       1 Tim.6:10

B.     Satan Entered His Heart: Lk. 22:1-3

1.      If problems like this linger without getting your attention, Satan will use them to gain advantage over you.

2.      Satan used Judas’ weakness to bring him down.

C.     The Lesson For Us: Prov.4:23

1.      Evil motives brought about the fall of Judas.

2.      God warns you to guard your motives

3.     The wrong people will make your problems worse:

A.     Judas Went To The Wrong People: Lk. 22:3-6

1.      In his time of weakness, instead of going to Christ for strength, Judas went to the very people that would compound his problem.

2.      Temptation = Evil desires coupled with enticement

a.       James 1:14

b.      Lead us not into temptation –Matt.6:13

B.     Those Who help us into trouble won’t help us out:

1.      The priests wouldn’t help Judas: Mt. 27:3-4

a.       Judas tried to return the blood money.

b.      Under Moses’ law the priests should have at least offered a sacrifice.

c.       But they callously refused to help Judas out of his dilemma of guilt.

C.     Choose your companions carefully: Prov. 6:27-28, 1 Cor. 15:33



4.     Sin has consequences that you cannot undo:

A.     Judas Made A Mess He Couldn’t Fix: Mt. 27:1-4

1.      After Jesus was arrested Judas realized his sin had created a situation he could not correct.

2.      It doesn’t matter if you intended the consequences or not.

a.       It seems he didn’t believe the attempt on Christ’s life would be successful.

3.      Either way, Judas’ sin left him filled with regret and unable to erase the consequence of his sin.

B.     The Lesson For Us: Ps. 107:17

1.      Our own sin often catches us in a trap of affliction.

2.      Sometimes our bitterest sorrow is over problems we’ve created ourselves.

5.     Unresolved Guilt Will Ruin Your Life:

A.     Guilt Killed Judas: Mt. 27:5

1.      Instead of dealing with his guilt in a godly manner, Judas gave up and killed himself.

2.      The sorrow of the world produces death.  2 Cor.7:10

B.     The Lesson For Us: Pro. 28:13

1.      If you don’t deal with the guilt of your sin it will be your ruin.

C.     Seek help at the feet of the Lord - Heb. 4:15-16

1.      You must build and maintain a relationship with God to properly address your guilt.

2.      God will let his children boldly approach his throne for mercy.

6.     Conclusion: Note these concluding observations

A.     Satan loves a wicked heart

B.     The wrong people will make your problems worse

C.     Sin has consequences you cannot undo

D.    Unresolved Guilt Will Ruin Your Life

E.     So, if you are burdened with guilt, what should you do?

1.      Acts 2:37,38  What shall we do?

a.       Repent and be baptized and you’ll be forgiven…

2.      Acts 8:22

a.       Repent and pray for forgiveness

F.      Learn a lesson from Judas, don’t repeat his mistake and betray Jesus.

Little things

Exodus 4

1. Introduction and Basis:  God’s dealings with Moses
    A. Moses
        1. A Small Rod Ex.4:2
        2. Becomes a serpent Ex.4:3
        3. Turned river to Blood Ex.7:17
        4. Divided the red sea Ex.14:16
        5. Defeated Amalek Ex.17:9-13
    B. A Big Man at age 40 rejected
        1. Forty years old Ac.7:23
        2. Raised in Pharaoh’s house Ex.2:10
        3. Treasures in Egypt Heb.11:26
        4. Learned in all Wisdom of Egypt Acts 7:22
        5. Mighty in words & deeds Act 7:22
        6. Strong and courageous Ex.2:17
        7. Zealous for his nation Ex.2;11,12 Ac.7:23,24
        8. Understood he was to be the deliverer Ac. 7 25
    C. A little man at age 80 chosen
        1. Eighty years old Ac.7:29,30
        2. 40 years in the wilderness herding sheep Ac .7 :29, 30
        3. No self confidence Ex.3:11; 4:1-3
        4. Slow of tongue Ex.4;10
        5. Not eloquent Ex4:10
        6. Meekest man on the face of the earth Num .12 3

2. What we can learn from this story of Moses:
    A. God wanted a lieutenant, not a general.
        1. God wanted some one who would
            a. Take orders (like Moses at 80)
            b. Not give orders (as Moses at 40).
        2. The secret of Moses’ success was not himself but his God.
    B. Christ strengthens us Phil. 4:13
        1. The Lord was Paul’s strength 1 Tim.4:16,17
        2. God’s strength with our weakness 2 Cor.12:9
        3. If God is for us who is against us?  Rom.8:31,32
        4. We need Christ as a branch needs the vine  Jn.15:4,5

3. Little things used for great deeds:
    A. Samson with jawbone of a donkey kills 1,000 Philistines Judges 15:7-17
    B. Poor widow’s two mites mean much  Mk.12:41-44
        1. It is not how much we give that matters  Mk.12:41
    C. Dorcas’ small needle helps many Acts 9:36-43
        1. Many mourned her death Acts 9:39
    D. A small child in your hand
        1. Nurture and admonish Eph.6:4
        2. The wisdom of Moses’ mother Ex.2:1-10; Ac.7:20; Hb.11:23

4. How little things can make a big showing
    A. Ant—work Pr.30:25
        1. Works without a boss Prov.6:6-8
        2. Use your time advantageously Eph.5:14-16
        3. Add Christian graces 2 Pet.1:5-10
    B. Coney—refuge for weaknesses Pr.30:26
        1. Coney and hare are different Lev.11 :5,6
        2. Rocks are for refuge for Coney  Psa.104:18
        3. Lord is our refuge Psa.94:22
        4. Refuge for sin Heb.8:12;  1 John 1:8-10
        5. Refuge for sorrow John 14:1 1 Thess.4:13-18
        6. Refuge for death 1 Cor.15:54-57;  Heb.6:18-20
    C. Locust—unity Pr.30:27
        1. Two or three united are strong Eccl.4:12
        2. Even strong fall when divided Matt. 12:25
    D. The spider—takes advantage of opportunities Pr.30:28
        1. Take advantage of favor Matt 5:25,26
        2. Make friends Prov.18:24

5. Conclusion:
    A. Do what you can Mark 14:3-9
    B. Redeem the time Col.4:5

Look what love can do

Introduction: Jn. 13:34-35 1 Jn. 3:18 (Jesus stressed the importance of love and spoke of what love can do. Love can critically change your relationships with your fellow man and with God. The kind of love that will do this is not the fairy-tale, whimsical, emotional frenzy that comes and goes but rather the Biblical attitude and action toward others. Love is not a feeling it is a decision and as such can change your life.) 

Love Can Change Human Relations:

    Rom. 13:10 (Love changes the way you treat your fellow man.) Gal. 5:13 (Love leads you to serve your fellow man.)

    1. Forbear: Eph. 4:2-3 (Each has their own little ways and faults. Love leads us to tolerate such faults.)

    2. Giving: Jn. 15:13 (Love leads you to sacrifice when your ways and faults irritate others.)

    3. Forgiving: Prov. 10:12 (Love leads you to choose forgiveness rather than hatefulness and grudges.)

    4. Peace: Prov. 15:17 (Love can end the "WW III" that goes on in many families. Story of man who changed to a kind disposition and gradually changed the entire family.)

Lead Jesus To Die For Our Sins:

    Rom. 5:8 (God expressed his love by allowing Jesus to suffer as he did.)

    1. For Israel: Isa. 63:9 (In spite of their evil, God loved Israel. When they hurt, he hurt. When you hurt, he hurts.)

    2. Passes Knowledge: Eph. 3:19 (God's love for man is so great, it transcends the parameters of our imagination.)

    3. Implores2 Cor. 5:14-15 (God's love pleads with you to love him and serve him.)

Lead You To Follow God:

    I Jn. 4:19 (God's love compels us to respond by loving him in return.) Jn. 14:15 (If you love God you will keep his commands.)

    1. Brings Great Peace: Ps. 119:165 (Loving God and doing his will make you at peace with God.)

    2. Prosperity: Ps. 122:6, Rom. 8:28 (Loving God brings a kind of spiritual prosperity that brings ultimate success in the judgment.)

    3. Reward: Ps. 145:20 (Loving God finally brings a heavenly reward.)

    4. Be More Like God: Mt. 5:44-45 (Loving makes us more like the Father in heaven.)

Conclusion: 1 Cor. 16:22 (A life lived without love is tragic and is lost! "accursed, our Lord's judgment is coming")

Persistence in Prayer

Lk 11:1-13


Introduction:

1. This parable is an answer to a question about prayer
   a. "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" Lk 11:1

3. In Jesus answer we see three things:
   a. First He told them "how" to pray and "what" to pray for
   b. Second He told this parable about how to pray
   c. Third He explained what the parable was designed to teach

4. The parable is commonly known as The Importunate friend
   a. It is recorded in Lk 11:5-8
   b. It's basic message is the importance of persistence
      in prayer
 

The question about prayer:

   A. Jesus had been praying - Lk 11:1
      1. The gospels record many things about the prayer life of Jesus
         a. Praying in the private - Lk 5:16
         b. Rising early to pray - Mk 1:35
         c. Praying all night - Lk 6:12-13
         d. His prayer for unity - Jn 17
         e. His prayer in the Garden  - Mt 26:36-44
      2. They ask Jesus to teach them to pray - Lk 11:1
 

Jesus prays for them the model prayer know as the Lord's Prayer:

   A. Also foun in His sermon on the mount - Mt 6:9-13     B. The Lord's prayer is an example for us to follow:       1. The words "in this manner" (Mt 6:9) suggest that "The Lord's          Prayer" is an example, not a liturgy to be recited       2. Here we begin to learn the "how" and "what" of prayer          a. "How" to pray  includes simplicity             1) The word "therefore" in Mt 6:9 connects what follows                with what was said before - cf. Mt 6:7-8             2) Jesus' pattern for prayer is a contrast to wordy prayers          b. We learn the "what" of prayer should include such things              as:             1) Reverence for God and His "Name" (i.e., His Being and                Character) - Lk 11:2             2) Praying for the progress of God's Kingdom and Will on                the earth - Lk 11:2             3) Asking for physical necessities - Lk 11:3             4) Also, our spiritual needs...                a) Forgiveness of sins as we forgive others- Lk 11:4                b) Protection and deliverance from evil and temptation - Lk 11:4      C.  In His sermon on the mount, Jesus chose to follow His pattern prayer         with an emphasis on forgiving others (Mt 6:14-15).  But on this          occasion, He has a different concern in mind.  
The parable of the Importunate Friend:
   A. The main points of the parable       1. You find yourself with company and inadequate provisions       2. You know you can go to your friend's house and borrow          some food       3. Even if it late at night, and...          a. He and his family are already in bed          b. He would normally not help you, even though you are a              friend          c. Yet you know that if you "persist", he will help you! - Lk             11:5-8     B. The purpose of the parable       1. Jesus is illustrating the importance of "persistence in          praying"       2. One does not know "how" to pray, then, unless they learn to be          persistent in prayer!    Jesus Explains the parable:
   A. Persistence is important - Lk 11:9-10       1. It is those who ask, seek, and knock, who will receive, find,          and have doors opened       2. The element of persistence is implied even in          a. The present tense of the verbs for "ask", "seek", and              "knock" (literally, "keep on asking", "keep on seeking",              and "keep on knocking"          b. The progressive relation between the words:             1) One normally starts out by "asking"             2) As they learn more, they begin "seeking"             3) As they arrive close to their destination, they start                "knocking"       3. Failure to persist in prayer, then, may be one reason some           prayers go unanswered!     B. God Loves you and wants the best for you - Lk 11:11-13       1. To encourage persistence in prayer, Jesus speaks of earthly          fathers and their sons          a. If a son asks his father for bread, while he give him a             stone?          b. If he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead?          c. If he asks for an egg, will the father offer him a             scorpion?       2. Then how much more will our heavenly Father gives us that          which is good?          a. If earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to              their children          b. How much more will our heavenly Father give the Spirit to             those who ask Him?          c. This reference to the Holy Spirit may relate to promise of             the Spirit             1) A promise made by Jesus on another occasion - Jn 7:37-39             2) A promise offered by Peter on the day of Pentecost - Ac                 2:38-39       3. Jesus' point seems to be this:          a. If persistence with a friend will prove fruitful (cf. the             parable)          b. If earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their             children          d. How much more will persistence prove fruitful with our              heavenly Father!  Conclusion:
1. We may be able to word an eloquent prayer and to saying the right     things, but from this parable we learn that we do not know "how" to    pray until we have learned to pray persistently  2. Persistence in prayer is so important that Jesus taught another     parable with the very same theme, The Parable Of The Persistent    Widow - Lk 18:1-8  3. But for now, let's remember what we have learned from Jesus at "the    school of prayer"...    a. That we have a heavenly Father who knows how to give good gifts       to His children    b. That this should motivate us to ask, and to ask persistently! 

Quit Complaining

1. Introduction:
    A. The nation of Israel complained repeatedly and God got tired of it and punished them for it.
        1. Num.21:4-9
    B. We have just celebrated a special day of Thanksgiving in our nation
        1. Yet whining & complaining seems to almost be our national past-time.
    C. The truth of the matter is that most people complain about all kinds of things.
        1. We complain about the weather, how tired we are, our health problems, our money problems,
        2.  The government, our employers, our meal, our clothes, our fellow employees, our responsibilities
        3.  Our mates, our children, our parents, our church & on & on & on…
    D. Complaining is criticizing our authorities for how they have provided for us...
    E.  Do you ever whine, complain, or murmur?
        1. God killed lots of the Israelites for whining and complaining, but what about today?
        2. Does God care if we complain?  Does he care if we whine & gripe?
2. Complaining is condemned by God.
    A. In the story we just talked about, God sent fiery Serpents (snakes) into the camp of Israel to bite and kill them.
        1.   Why do you think God would do something like that?  Because of their incessant complaining!
    B. 1 Cor.10:6-11
    C. Jude 10-16
    D. Complaining about other people is called backbiting and is condemned in the strongest terms in the Bible
        1. Romans 1:30-32
            a. Backbiters –listed with haters of God
            b. Worthy of Death –
        2. 1 Cor.5:9
            a. Railer –shunned by the church
3. What is wrong with complaining?
    A. God specifically commands us not to complain
        1. 1 Cor.10:6-11
    B. All complaining is actually against God -
        1. Exodus 16:8
    C. Complaining shows a lack of gratitude toward God and what he has done for us
        1. We recognize this with our children, why don’t we see it in ourselves?
    D. Complaining discourages others and causes them to sin
        1. Moses losing his entrance to the promised land
        2. Heb.13:17
4. Why do people complain?
    A. We complain because we are self-centered and controlled by what we want
        1. Jude 10-16
            a. “The food isn’t my favorite, in fact, I really don’t even like soup, especially if there is no meat to go with it…”
            b. Remember Israel and the Quail?
    B. Why do YOU complain?
5. How do I fix the problem of complaining?
    A. You must develop an attitude of gratefulness toward God and others -1 Thess.5:18
    B. You must realize just what you have been given
        1. Luke 7:36-48
        2. Romans 6:23
    C. You must put off tearing down by Complaining and put on building up
        1. Ephesians 4:29
        2. Build up those around you

Stewardship

Introduction: Lk. 12:41-48 (Christ lays out a story about stewardship for our consideration. This teaches some very valuable lessons about our service to God. Consider these thoughts on stewardship.)

1. Stewardship Is A Gift: 1 Cor. 4:1-2, 1 Pet. 4:10 (These passages talks about stewardship. Stewardship is when God gives you a gift, something for which you are responsible. What do you have that was not given to you?)

2. The Breakdown Of Stewardship: (Follows is a breakdown of how Christ explained stewardship.)

    1. Authority: Lk. 12:42 (Jurisdiction&ldots; The lord made him ruler over his household. This fact shows that part of the stewardship involved being given the authority to carry out the work. God has given you authority to do what he’s asked you to do.)

    2. Responsibility: Lk. 12:42 (Result&ldots; There was purpose to the authority. It was not just arbitrary. He was to give them their portion of meat. This shows the steward had a specific responsibility to fulfill. You are responsible for that which God has placed under your authority.)

    3. Accountability: Lk. 12:43 (The lord will come again to see if he’s doing his job. This shows the steward was held accountable for whether or not he did his job.) Lk. 12:44-46 (The lord will reward the one who does their job but will punish the wicked servant. This shows the concept of reward and punishment. It’s not just a matter of displeasing the Lord, we must face penalty if we fail. Note there is an element of surprise for those who were not prepared for the master’s coming.)

3. Areas For You To Exercise Your Stewardship: (Having examined the basics of stewardship, let us now look at different areas in your life where these principles apply.)

    1. Your Personal Life: Acts 17:25 (Think of your personal life as a stewardship. God has given you the gift of life. It is your responsibility to do something with it.)
      A. Authority: Josh. 24:15 (Joshua spoke of the choice Israel had to serve God or not. God has made us free moral agents, giving us the authority to choose.)

      B. Responsibility: Eccl. 12:13, Phil. 2:12 (We have a responsibility to choose to fear God and keep his commands. Our life is a gift and we should treasure it by making the wise choice.)

      C. Accountability: Eccl. 12:14, 1 Pet. 1:17 (We will be held accountable for what we have done, for the choice we’ve made.)

    2. Your Family: Prov. 18:22, Ps. 127:3-5 (A good spouse and children are a gift from God. As such it is another stewardship that we have.)

      A. Authority: Eph. 5:33, 1 Tim. 5:14, Eph. 6:1-2 (God has given husbands, wives and parents certain authority in the home. Like other kinds of stewardship, this is the authority to do the job God has given us to do.)

      B. Responsibility: Eph. 6:4 (We have the responsibility to do the things described in the verses above. We must love our wives, submit to our husbands, lead our children and behave within the family structure as God commands.)

      C. Accountability: Ezek. 18:20 (We do not bear the sin of our children. However, we will give account for whether or not we did the job God gave us to do.)

    3. The Gospel: Ps. 60:4 (God has given us a banner to carry, the banner of truth. It is a gift from God, a stewardship.) 2 Cor. 4:5-7 (The truth, the story of Christ is a precious treasure. It is placed in us, earthen vessels. Again, it is a gift, a stewardship.)

      A. Authority: Titus 2:15 (Paul told Titus to speak the word with authority. We have the authority to properly use God’s word as a tool to reach others for Christ. Some presume to say, "who are you to tell me" We are God’s children, that’s who!)

      B. Responsibility: Mt. 28:19-20 (The authority to preach carries the responsibility to preach. We are obligated to do what we can to promote the gospel of Christ.)

      C. Accountability: Ezek. 3:18-19 (God will hold us accountable for not teaching others about Christ. We must work to warn the lost.)

Conclusion: Lk. 12:47-48 (Jesus said the ones who have been given a lot are expected to deliver a lot. Life is filled with stewardships, gifts from God. The more gifts God has given us, the more stewardships we have, the more we are responsible to do. Are you fulfilling the stewardships God has given you?)

Suffering as a Christian

1 Peter 2:20-22

 

1. Introduction:
    A. Christ, our standard and example, left us an example to suffer.
        1. 1 Peter 2:20-22

2. There is value in Suffering:  Matt.5:10-12
    A. Suffering is the source of special blessing from God:  .
        1. Blessed = Happy
        2. If you want happiness, you must be persecuted.
    B. This is suffering for Righteousness sake, not just for the sake of suffering
        1. 1 Peter 3:14
        2. 1 Pet.2:20,21
    C. Then you will receive a special blessing of comfort from the Lord.  2 Cor.1:4,5
        1. 1 Pet.4:15,16
    D. Suffering (for righteousness) is evidence of Godliness in your life:  2 Timothy 3:12
        1. Revelation 12:11
    E. Persecution is a source of fellowship with Jesus  Phs.3:9,10
        1. Mark 13:9-13
        2. Acts.9:4,5
    F. We learn obedience by suffering
        1. Hebrews 5:8
    G. When suffering for Christ’s sake, we obtain for ourselves a better resurrection.
        1. Hb.11:32-40

3. Conclusion:
    A. Pray that God will count you worthy to suffer for His name that you might receive the wonderful blessings of the persecuted!

The Lord's prayer

Introduction

1. A wonderful privilege enjoyed by the children of God is prayer

a. Through prayer we can receive mercy and grace to help in time of
need - He 4:14-16
b. Prayer is an essential step in attaining the peace that passes
all understanding - Ph 4:6-7

2. But the privilege of prayer assumes God will heed our prayers

a. Not all prayers are acceptable to God - cf. Pro 28:9
b. Indeed, God does not hear the prayers of all men - cf. Isa 59:
1-2; 1 Pe 3:12
c. Jesus described the prayer of the pharisee which did not please God
- Lk 18:9-14

3. Can we know if our prayers please God?

a. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had much to say about prayer
b. Especially the kind of prayer which finds favor in God's sight

 

How Not to pray


A. Do not pray like the Hypocrites

1. Who love to pray

a. Standing in the synagogues
b. On the corners of the streets

2. "that they may be seen of men" - Mt 6:5

B. "They have their reward"

1. That is, they are seen by men
2. But the praise of men is the extent of their reward
3. They have no reward or blessing from God!

C. Jesus is not condemning all public prayer

1. Jesus Himself prayed in public - Mt 11:25; Jn 11:41
2. As did Paul - Ac 27:35
3. Paul even regulated public prayer - 1 Cor 14:15-17

D. The emphasis is the same as stated in Mt 6:1, "do not do your alms
before men, TO BE SEEN BY THEM."

How to pray

A. Offer prayer for God (not men) to see.

1. This is what he means by "praying in secret" - Mt 6:6
2. Do you pray in secret, or do you only pray when given the chance
in public for the sake of enhancing your reputation?
3. The person who prays most in secret is praying to be seen of
God, not men!

B. Pray so that God (not other men) is impressed with what you say

1. Avoiding the use of "vain repetitions" - Mt 6:7

a. As was often practiced by the heathen religions
b. This is like the Catholic rosary prayers, just the same
repetition over and over again.

2. This is not condemning all repetition, but "vain" (insincere,
useless) repetition

a. Jesus repeated Himself in prayer at Gethsemane - Mt 26:
36-44
b. Paul repeated his requests concerning his "thorn in the
flesh" - 2 Co 12:7-8

3. Since God knows what you need before you ask Him,
your prayers do not need to be "wordy" or eloquent

a. The Lord's prayer can be said in less than 30 seconds
b. It is the sincerity, not the smoothness of the words that
God recognizes.

C. Pray according to the pattern Jesus left

1. The pattern of proper prayer:

a. It is simple and heartfelt
b. In its content, the Lord's prayer included:


1) Praise for God - Mt 6:9,13
2) Prayer for the progress of God's Kingdom and His Will on
the earth - Mt 6:10
3) Asking for physical needs - Mt 6:11
4) And spiritual needs

a) Forgiveness of sins - Mt 6:12
b) Protection and deliverance from evil & temptation - Mt 6:13

D. Our heart must be compassionate and forgiving


1. As indicated in the pattern prayer itself - Mt 6:12,14-15
2. Otherwise, we cannot expect forgiveness for ourselves - Mt 18:
21-23; Ja 2:13
3. This must be very important to Jesus, for this is the only
part of the pattern upon which He elaborates!

Conclusion

1. This is not the only occasion in which Jesus taught on prayer


a. Later, His disciples would ask Him to teach them to pray - Lk 11:
1-4
b. He taught them about the importance of persistence, faith and
humility in prayer - Lk 11:5-13; 18:1-14

2. But in this sermon Jesus sought to stress prayer that is designed


a. To be seen by God, not man
b. To be heard by God, not man

 

The Woman Caught in Adultery

1. Purposes of this passage

A. Shows the compassion and mercy of Christ/God
B. Shows the call to repent of Sin
C. Shows the wicked hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees
D. Teaches us about the role of conscience (Note: from Oldest to youngest)

2. Introduction:

A. Tell the Story
B. Jesus was always confronting sin. First he confronts the Scribes and Pharisees, then he confronts the woman.

3. The Trap is set...

A. They have Jesus between the horns of a dilemma. All the Jews know the Law against adultery.
B. Leviticus 20:10 "the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death"
C. Yet they also know that to demand the death of a woman would be considered harsh in the reality of first century Judaism, no doubt driving away some of His followers.

4. Jesus responds

A. He ignores them, stoops down and begins to write on the ground with his finger, as though they weren't even there. But they were not to be deterred so easily. Notice the text "So when they continued asking Him". They are forcing Him to respond publically to this challenge.
B. Once again, they have underestimated their foe...the one who wrote the scripture surely knew the scripture, and he knew that Deuteronomy 22:22 said
"If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband,
then both of them shall die-the man that lay with the woman, and the woman;
so you shall put away the evil from Israel"
C. So here was their Achilles heal...where was the man? Why did they drag the woman here, to be condemned, and not the man?
D. So he says "He that is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone"
E. Now, we need to notice a couple of things about this verse.

1. First, this is one of only two verses many people know from the New Testament. [Judge not that ye be not judged is the other]
2. It is often used to shield the guilty from criticism..."don't judge me!"
a. The idea is that only if you are without sin can you bring accusation.
b. But that is not what this passage teaches.
3. "Without sin" here means without sin "in this case" that you've brought before me. Not if you are sinless.
a. Jesus knew no-one (except Himself) was without sin totally.
b. God, when He gave the command in Leviticus 20:10 knew that the people he gave the command to were not sinless. If executing God's righteous judgment on sin required sinlessness, the command was meaningless.
c. No one could have ever been put to death for sin in the Old Testament.
4. What had happened here was that they were all in on the set up...the woman was a pawn in their game against Christ. He knew that, they knew that...by now, she may even realize that.
a. Jesus is telling them If you are not as guilty as she is in this, you cast the first stone at her
b. Jesus also knows that without 2 or 3 witnesses, the woman could not be convicted of the sin and executed...so...how did they get 2 or 3 witnesses to her sin of adultery? An obvious set up.

F. These Jewish leaders were also aware of Exodus 23:1-2 which is what Jesus convicts them of:

...Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute
so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.

G. They were confronted, and convicted by their consciences and one by one they left.

1. I think it is instructive that the oldest left first. They knew the gig was up, they knew they had gotten caught...the younger men weren't quite as willing to give up the fight...yet in the end they did also.

5. Now Jesus turns His attention to the woman "Be sure, you're sin will find you out..."

A. Consider the woman

1. The excitement of the moment earlier that day -. You know the feeling don't you? That moment of excitement when you do something you know is wrong, but you do it anyway...you actually stick your hand down in the cookie jar and grab a cookie...There is no doubt that this woman's pulse quickened with the excitement...
2. The passion ignited in her - Adultery is normally a sin of passion, how the strong feelings of passion surge within a person...the "I'm actually going to do this" passion that just overtakes a heart...did she love this man she was cheating with? Did she love the husband she was cheating against? Was this a long time affair? Or was it a one-night stand? We don't know the answers to these questions, but we do know that, regardless of the circumstances, it was (and is) sin.
3. Now she faces the horror of being caught and publicly humiliated- How do you think Bill Clinton felt, when he knew the truth was coming out about Monica Lewinski? Do you think there was a moment of terror in his soul? Consider how Sadam Houssein felt when the door to that hidey-hole opened up, streaming in sunlight and US soldiers...Have you ever faced that moment? That time you were caught, and there was no way out? You think quickly, is there any plausible lie you can tell to explain it away? Can you do an OJ and deny, deny, deny? Can you do a Clinton and "It depends on the meaning of the word..." Is there some way out of this mess?!?!? And slowly, the painful realization ripens...there is no way out...this time I'm just caught. I can't deny, I can't talk my way out of this one, I am just plain caught!
4. The specter of ultimate punishment...immediate, painful, death. Her mood had to be frantic, she is like a caged animal, wanting, trying, searching for a way to get away...yet there is none, this group of men far outnumber her, they are physically stronger, there are many of them, does she fight? Does she watch their movements looking for her chance? Or does she quietly surrender, resolved to her fate? At least it would be a quick death, though painful.
Then, up ahead she sees the crowd and she knows they will be the instrument of her death, hurling stones with vitriol, smug in their self-righteousness that they had exterminated another low life sinner, a home wrecker. As she draws near to the crowd, quietly gathered, listening to someone, the mood changes. Now she is a pawn in the ugly game the Pharisee's had in store for Jesus.

B. Jesus asks her a question

1. Now the scene has changed again...those so thirsty for her blood as a tool to accuse Jesus were gone...the bewildered crowd stands silently looking on, and Jesus...What will he say now?
The Law still stands over her head "...the...adulteress, shall surely be put to death"
Jesus hadn't said to the Pharisee's "let her go". No, in fact, He said just the opposite, "He who is without sin Cast the first stone"...He had acknowledged her just punishment was death by stoning...
The crowd is still here and will be glad to stone her at the word of Jesus...will he give the word?
2. "Woman, where those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "no one Lord"

6. "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more"

A. Someone might protest here that Jesus should have had her stoned if He were following the Law of Moses, yet that is not true because that same law required at least two witnesses, and now there are NONE. So we find Jesus strictly following the Law of Moses here.
B. There are three things we need to consider about the answer of Jesus:
1. First is that Jesus stands ready to forgive and show mercy to this woman.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved.
-John 3:17

Jesus didn't come to condemn, He came to save, and we see this in everything he does.

1. I was asked recently if I would tell my children, especially my son when he gets older, that I have software installed on our computer that records all the websites they go to.
My response is "of course I will. I don't want to ‘catch them' doing something wrong, I want to guard them against doing it."

2. Second, Jesus does tell her not to sin anymore. It seems that it is so difficult for us to take the stand that Jesus took. The stand that says "I don't condemn you...don't sin anymore".

a. We either end up with "you are condemned for what you did", or "Don't worry about it, we all sin, it doesn't matter".
b. Jesus laid the responsibility for her sin squarely on her own shoulders.

3. Finally, there is a very common error in rearranging the order of Jesus words in the passage.

a. Often our response to those who have sinned is: Go and sin no more, then I won't condemn you.
b. Don't we many times feel like that is God's response to our sin also?
c. But is isn't. Listen to what he really said "neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more".
d. The order is God forgives and then we quit sinning, not "we quit sinning, then God forgives".

4. We tend to rate sin. There are the "really bad sins" like adultery and murder, and there are the sins that everyone does like lust and anger.

a. It is true that the outward consequences of adultery are worse than lust, but the condition of the heart that produces them both is the same.
b. The truth is that when we commit sin, any sin, we are guilty of sin. Not big sin, or little sin, but sin. (James 2:10)

5. 1 John 4:19 - God always stands as the initiator of love, forgiveness, and righteousness.

a. He doesn't love us because we are good, or because we love him, but we love Him because He first loved us.

7. Conclusion

A. Where do you stand today? One who condemns? One who is guilty? To you both, Jesus says:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

- Matthew 11:28-30

 

The elder brother

Introduction: Lk. 15:25-32, Acts 9:26 (In the story of the prodigal son we also read about an elder brother. I’ve often wondered why Jesus included the part regarding his attitude in the story. Christ put this here for our benefit. We can easily see where we compare to the prodigal son. Evidently, we sometimes compare to the elder brother too. Saul’s conversion shows an example of how we might be like the elder brother. After he was converted some did not believe he was genuine. We sometimes take on a similar attitude towards those who try to repent from bad mistakes. We frequently question the sincerity of a restored backslider. Sometimes we treat them cold as a punitive measure. Occasionally we will make them feel dirty or unwelcome, and even berate them with cruel gossip. This is the kind of thing we do that’s like the elder brother. Let’s study his story to see what we can do to be better.)

1. What The Elder Brother Did: (Let’s examine his behavior more closer to see if we detect a similarity to ourselves.)

    1. He Was Suspicious About Rejoicing: Lk. 15:25-26, Lk. 15:7 (Angles in heaven rejoice when a sinner repents. Faithful Christians rejoice too. Do we view such rejoicing with a cynical eye? Will you be seen participating in the rejoicing or will you observe from a distance and criticize?)

    2. He Was Angry At His Brother’s Repentance: Lk. 15:28, Jn. 11:46-53 (He was so angry at the turn of events that he refused to go in where the family was rejoicing. The Pharisees were angry at the popularity of Jesus and sought to kill him for that reason. Some people just don’t want to see the lost repent. Would you be just as comfortable is certain ones remained in sin until judgment so they could get what they have coming?)

    3. He Refused To Associate With His Brother: Lk. 15:28, Isa. 65:5 (As noted above, the elder brother would not join in the celebration over the lost sheep returning. Sometimes we take on a "holier than thou" attitude. Do you withhold your association from some because of this?)

    4. He Boasted Of His Own Service: Lk. 15:29, Lk. 18:9-12 (The elder brother boasted of his own faithfulness through the years. This is much like the attitude of the Pharisee in the temple. Do you ever look at the returned prodigal and think yourself good for never having the extreme problems that person had?)

    5. He Complained There Was No Special Blessing: Lk. 15:29, Exo. 14:10-12 (The elder son complained that he received no special attention like the prodigal. In like manner, even though God had blessed Israel so much, they complained at their fate. Do you sometimes complain or feel jealousy at the attention given to repentant sinners?)

    6. He Drew Attention To His Brother’s Past: Lk. 15:30, Lk. 18:11 (The elder son brought attention to his brother’s past mistakes. The Pharisee did the same regarding the publican in his temple prayer. Do you use people’s past mistakes to belittle their character? Do you hold someone’s past against them, even when they’ve repented?)

2. What Causes The "Elder Brother" Attitude Today: (Looking at spiritual woes that contribute to this attitude will help us understand how to live above it.)

    1. Pride3 Jn. :9-10 (Sometimes this attitude stems from a desire to feel superior to others. Diotrephes’ desire for preeminence exemplifies this kind of pride.)

    2. Jealousy: Mt. 20:10-15 (This story shows some who worked all day being jealous of those who worked less but received the same pay. Perhaps we suffer from this kind of wrong thinking when we have the elder brother attitude.)

    3. Misunderstanding: Lk. 19:10 (Christ’s mission is to seek and save the lost. Sometimes we loose sight of this and treat the repentant sinner like the elder brother treated the prodigal.)

    4. Conviction: Mt. 7:4-5 (Jesus warns us to work on our own problems before we attack others. Perhaps we sometimes focus on the returned prodigal to draw attention away from our own sin we have failed to confront. The elder brother attitude sometimes stems from feeling convicted of our own guilt.)

    5. Lack Of Love1 Cor. 13:4, 1 Jn. 3:15 (A cold attitude toward the one who repents shows a lack of love. If we love people the way we should we will rejoice in their repentance. If we don’t, that lack of love amounts to a kind of hate, something which can cost us our soul.)

3. The Real Sinner: (Look at the story of the repentant prodigal and see that the elder brother was the real sinner in the final outcome. If you have the elder brother attitude toward others, you too are more sinful in God’s sight than you realize.) Rev. 3:17 (Like the saints at Laodicea, we sometimes see ourselves as spiritually pure and fail to see how pitiful we look in God’s eyes.) Mt. 18:4-7 (Christ warns us sternly to not oppose those who believe in him and seek to follow him. We dare not hinder the prodigal child of God or sinner who seeks to reconcile with the Father in heaven.)

The reward of godliness

1. Introduction:
    A. 1 Timothy 4:7-9
        1.   Bodily exercise profits for a little while, only temporary, only in this life.
        2.  The Merits of Various diets.  Everyone has their own idea of what works best in diet
        3.  Most all agree that for good health, you need exercise. You need to use your body actively.
        4.  And the benefits to those who do are many and great.
            a. You have more energy
            b. You avoid injury & illness more easily
            c. You recover more quickly from injuries & illness
            d. You don’t have as much trouble with obesity
            e. All your organs work better
            f. You just plain feel better
        5.  Do you get regular exercise?  You should, but the value, while great, pales in comparison to the exercise of godliness.
    B. Godliness profits in all things.
        1.  Here we see the contrast.  Exercise profits in this life, godliness profits in BOTH lives.
        2.  Now, godliness is something we must exercise ourselves to, just as physical fitness is.
            a. Heb.5:14 “…those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern…”
    C. What you devote your life to:
        1.  One fellow spent years learning to make a sound like a chain saw
        2.  Others spend many hours per day for weeks or months on end learning a hobby or craft
        3.  What if we had devoted that time to learning the scriptures?

2. In this life Godliness will solve these problems for us:
    A. Guilt & suspicion – Prov.28:1
        1. By living a life of godliness, you don’t have to live, looking over your shoulder, keeping a lock on the skeleton closet.
    B. Sorrow – 1 Jn.5:3
        1. Like young trees in a storm, you will be OK if anchored, or tied off, to Christ
    C. Consequences of sin – Rom.6:23; Matt.28:20
        1. Unwed parents, destroyed homes, diseases, financial crisis, etc. are often the result of ungodliness
        2. God’s commands are like a Chain-Link Fence keeping us away from a dangerous cliff, they protect us.
    D. Fear & Worry – 1 Pet.5:7; Hb.13:5,6
        1. We can be like a child who, holding the hand of  her father, will enter a dark & scarey room
    E. Friendship & the problem of Loneliness – Jn.15:12-17; Matt.19:29
        1. Living a life of Godliness, those you associate with will be godly
        2. We are a family, and I, in Christ have brothers, sisters, parents, children, houses, lands, etc. all over the world.
    F. We have these blessings with Persecution – Matt.5:10
        1. For our real reward is not here on earth, but in heaven

3. And the life that is to come:
    B. Godliness provides the promise of Heaven – Rev.21:3-7
    C. We are but visitors here on earth – Heb.11:13-16

Tolerance

1. Introduction:
    A.  Romans 14
        1. United we Stand, divided we fall  (Mt. 12)
    B. We hear constantly today about the wonderful virtue of Tolerance.  How that America is the greatest nation on earth because of our tolerance.
    C. This is the classic passage in Scripture about tolerance.
    D. Today, I want to consider these questions:  What does the Bible tell us about tolerance and God’s attitude toward it?

2. Bible Basics about tolerance:
    A. Tolerance:  Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.
    B. Now, in a very strict sense, no religion, (and we are talking about religion here) is tolerant of any other religion.
        1. Paul in Athens –Acts 17:16-18
        2. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me”  Jn.14:6
        3. All religions claim to teach spiritual truth and to the extent that they contradict other religious teachings they are intolerant.
        4. This brings us to consider what we really mean by tolerance.
    C. Tolerance is promoted by some honest people, but
        1. It is also promoted by all who wish to have their sinful & aberrant behavior excused or accepted.
    D. We are urged to tolerance, which sounds so noble, yet it is defined as:
        1. Non-judgmental acceptance of any and all other viewpoints as equally valid to your own viewpoint.
        2. This view equates tolerance with compromise and acceptance of sin.  One way isn’t just as good as another.
            a. Homosexuality is wrong and should be condemned.
            b. Divorcing & remarrying without scriptural cause is not just as good as the opposite.
            c. Islam isn’t “another great religion” that can stand hand in hand with Christianity.
            d. Immorality in not “just an alternative” viewpoint.
            e. All entertainment is not created equal.

3. Two ungodly extremes
    A. Intolerance
        1. Treating someone bad because we disagree is sinful intolerance.
            a. Disagreeing with someone, is not sinful intolerance.
            b. It is not sinful intolerance to tell them, or others, even openly, that we disagree.  (Acts 24:10)
            c. It is not sinful intolerance try to persuade them to agree with you.
                (1) Acts 26:28,29
                (2) It is not intolerant to try to convert others to Christianity  (1 Cor.5:10,11)
            d. It is not intolerant to believe you  are embracing and practicing the truth  (Acts 24:10)
            e. Learn to disagree without becoming disagreeable.
        2. Treating someone bad because we dislike them or something about them is sinful intolerance.
            a. Personality quirks are never an acceptable reason for ill treatment.
                (1) Eph.4:2  “longsuffering, bearing with one another in love”
                (2) “I don’t like you because you remind me of someone I knew…”
        3. Trying to force someone to accept or embrace your point of view is sinful intolerance.
            a. Paul tried to convince those in sin to repent and be saved (Acts 17)
            b. Yet, he never took a bat to someone who was “in sin”
            c. It is intolerance to demand that everyone bow to your opinion or preferences or even your beliefs.
    B. Indifference (Compromise):  Josh. 24:15 “choose you this day…”
        1. Which Lord we serve is a choice that everyone must make.
            a. It is compromise of the worst sort to say, or live like, this choice doesn’t matter.
            b. Everyone is to make their own choice, and when they do…
        2. God teaches that our “stance” toward Christians must be:
            a. It is not OK to openly embrace or practice sin, and if you do, you will be rejected from the church.
                (1) We cannot be indifferent to sin within the church!
                (2) 1 Corinthians 5:11ff
                (3) We have no responsibility for judging outsiders.
                (4)We are to evangelize outsiders, but not judge them,
                (5)We do have a responsibility to judge those who claim to be within the church.  We must remove the wicked from among us.
                (6) We are to be held to a higher standard of conduct and morality.
                (7) If someone claims to be a Christian, I should talk to them like I talk to fellow Christians.
                (8) I should not be afraid to discuss God’s word with them, because, ostensibly,
                     1) They have embraced His word and
                     2) They claim to be basing their lives, & all their decisions, on it.
            b. Tolerance become sin when it becomes indifference or compromise (in areas of spiritual truth).
            c. Acts 17:11  The people at Berea were noble because they searched the Scriptures before they accepted anything even Paul said.
            d. It is spiritually lethal for a congregation to tolerate false doctrine and apostate teachers.
            e. But the spirit of ignorant tolerance that plagues us today often brands any attempt to scrutinize others’ teaching as:
                (1) Narrow-minded, unloving, or divisive.
                (2) The brother of tolerance of error is indifference to truth—and that is disastrous.  (Titus 1:9)
                (3) Email that was sent to me this week about Billy Graham.
            f. We all have our problems, but we have, hold, and teach the fundamental truths of God’s word here.
                (1) That is why this church is so important.
            g. It is indifferent to refuse to examine your own beliefs in the light of God’s word.
            h. The issue that makes intolerance a sin is our attitude and behavior.
                (1) It is intolerant to treat others as though they are stupid or don’t love God because they don’t share your convictions.

4. Summary:
    A. We must be tolerant of:
        1. Personality differences:  (bubbly, or boring)
            a. Look at Peter and John
        2. Different opinions:  (republican or democrat)
            a. Different is not necessarily wrong
        3. Personal Preferences:  (temperature, order of services, fast or slow songs)
            a. Eph.4:2
        4. Matters of Conscience:  Communion on Sunday night
            a. Romans 14
    B. We must be uncompromising in:
        1. Morality within the church:  -1 Cor.5
            a. Expect to be confronted if others in the church learn that you are doing something immoral, unchristian, or wrong.
                (1) Language, entertainment, honesty, unlawful, etc.
        2. God’s word & fundamentals of Christianity  -Acts 11:17
        3. Our love for others  -Matt.5:44

5. Conclusion:
    A. We are Christian (like Christ) so:
        1. Was Jesus Tolerant?
            a. Yes!  John 8:3-11
            b. He loved the sinner, yet required her to forsake the sin.
        2. Was Jesus ever intolerant?
            a. Yes!  Matthew 23
        3. At times Jesus was confrontational (Money changers in the temple)
        4. Often He asked people to do what was difficult, unpleasant, & uncomfortable for them to do.  (Love me more than family…Lk.14)
    B. We are to be tolerant in the sense of treating others as we would want to be treated (do unto others…)
    C. We are to be tolerant in the sense of accepting and “working with” others who don’t see “eye to eye” with us on everything.
    D. We are not to be tolerant in the sense of  “non-judgmental acceptance of any and all other viewpoints as equally valid to your own view point”

What it means to be a servant of the Lord

  1. Introduction:  2 Timothy 2:24-26
    "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel 
    but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,
    in humility correcting those who are in opposition,
    if God perhaps will grant them repentance,
    so that they may know the truth,
    and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, 
    having been taken captive by him to do his will.
    "
  2. What it doesn't mean:
    1. Being religious:
      1. Matthew 5:20; 7:21-23
    2. Being baptized:
      1. Acts 8:20-24
    3. Being Active in the church:
      1. 1 Corinthians 15:12-14
      2. 2 Timothy 4:10
    4. Being a leader in church:
      1. 2 Timothy 2:17,18
      2. 3 John 9,10
  3. What it really means:
    1. Being "Like Jesus"
      1. Matthew 10:24,25
    2. Walking "In his steps"
      1. 1 Peter 2:21
    3. Living as a sacrifice
      1. Romans 12:1
    4. Put your heart in your effort
      1. Matthew 6:19-21
  4. Conclusion:
    1. Remember: you are working for Him, not yourself or anyone else.
    2. 1 Corinthians 12:18

What prayer is for

1. Humility: Jas. 4:10 (You must humble yourself before God. How can you do that?) 2 Sam. 7:18 (David Humbled himself in prayer. Prayer makes you more humble because you admit faults, ask for needs, etc.. All these things make you more humble.)

2. Opportunity to Praise: Ps. 51:15 (David was anxious to speak praises to God.) Ps. 34:1-4, Ps. 63:5 (Verbally praising God is good for you. It will make you feel better. This is another benefit you should get from prayer.)

3. Mental Relief And Expression: I Pet. 5:7 (The Lord invites us to cast our cares on him.) Rom. 8:26 (The Holy Spirit helps us with this. When we cannot express ourselves to God he speaks to God on our behalf.) 1 Sam. 1:15-18 (Hannah obtained a sense of relief from pouring out her heart to God.)

4. Petitions: Ps. 69:3 (David spoke of the weariness of waiting for God's answer to his prayers. Does God answer prayers? Yes but the answer isn't always the same. Follows are three categories of answers.)

     A. Can't Procure: 2 Cor. 12:7-9, Deut. 3:23-26, Mt. 26:39 (As was the case with Paul and Moses, sometimes the answer is no. All the praying in the world wont change it. There are times you simply can't have what you want.)

     B. Might Procure: 1 Jn. 5:14 (Ask, and if it's God's will, perhaps your request will be granted.) 2 Sam. 12:21-23 (David prayed with the attitude of maybe God will do this or maybe he wont. This is real faith!)

     C. Will Procure: Mt. 6:13, Jas. 1:13 (Some things prayer will always procure because God has promised them. For example, Jesus taught us to pray that God would not tempt us. But God has already promised not to tempt us. Therefore this prayer is guaranteed to be answered. Other examples are things like forgiveness to the repentant, opportunity for basic needs, etc..)

5. Accept The Answer: Mt. 26:42 (You must be like Jesus and be willing to accept if your request is not answered.) Jn. 15:7 (Don't abuse promises like these. They are conditional on several things, such as "if it be God's will".)

6. Answered Prayer And Miracles: Jn. 20:30-31 (Some confuse the issue of answered prayer and miracles. The Bible says miracles were for an outward evidence. However, answered prayer is not for that purpose. Think of the contrast. "I believe because my prayer was answered." Or, "I believe because God said so." In addition to this, John the baptist did no miracle. Does that mean his prayers weren’t answered?)

What the Resurrection means to us

1.            Introduction:

A.                 Tell the story of the Resurrection, with a short, particular, passage reading

B.                 What did the resurrection mean to them?

1.              It meant Peter wasn’t going back to be a fisherman

2.              It meant Mary didn’t have to have a funeral for her Son

3.              It meant the grieving stopped

4.              It meant Life after Death was possible

C.                 The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central event in human history, and for Christians, it is the “proof in the pudding”

D.                What does the resurrection mean to you and me?

2.            The resurrection means that Jesus is who He claimed to be:

A.                 He claimed to be the Son of God  –Acts 22:66-71

B.                 That means He is always right, about everything.

C.                 But it doesn’t mean this to everyone for some still reject His Lordship in their lives.

3.            The resurrection means that the Bible is truly the word of God

A.                 The God of the Bible, the Christian God, predicted, and produced, unlike every other religion in existence.

1.              Over 300 prophesies of the Christ, all fulfilled in Jesus.  Many made hundreds, even thousands of years before.

2.              God promised them, and He fulfilled them.

B.                 Jesus recognized the scriptures as true and inspired from God.

1.              He quoted from the OT scriptures constantly in His ministry

2.              This means that any other religious “way” is wrong  –John 14:6

3.              And, every other religion is wrong.

C.                 But it doesn’t mean this to everyone for some still reject the Bible

1.              And some claim it, yet make no effort to obey it.

4.            The resurrection means that death, even your death, is not final.

A.                 Shall a man live again?  And the answer to that question can be answered with a resounding YES!

B.                 It means that what you do in this life, is only temporary  –2 Pt.3:10-13

1.              Consider Eternity and how long that will be –Illustration of sparrow

C.                 It means all that Jesus taught about the “next life” is true  –John 5:23,24

1.              Including His teachings of Heaven and Hell.

D.                It means Death is a defeated enemy –1 Cor.15:54,55

E.                 Yet it doesn’t mean this to everyone, for many live as though there is nothing to be gained in a future life from our conduct in this life.



5.            The resurrection means that your forgiveness is real –1 Corinthians 15:14

A.                 It means that a “fresh start”, a “new beginning”, a “do-over” is possible.

1.              Jesus called it being “Born Again” Jn.3:3,5

a.              Can you imagine being able to really “Start again”?  To have the slate wiped clean?  For all the ugliness of your past to be erased?  For your failures and mistakes to be banished to the realm of “never happened”? no mistakes, no failures, nothing.  Brand, spanking, New.

b.             When you are “Born again”, this is true of you.  It’s all new.  You get a 2nd chance, with a guaranteed win.  You get to start the game over again. –2 Cor.5:17

B.                 It means the promise of my forgiveness can be believed.

1.              The same God who promised to raise Jesus from the dead, has promised to forgive sin, and count us righteous –Rom.4:22-25

C.                 It means your baptism was more than “getting wet” –Col.2:12; 1 Pt.3:21

D.                But it doesn’t mean this to everyone, for many reject this “new birth” as Nicodemus did at this time.

1.              Many even commit suicide out of regret for past mistakes.

2.              Many reject baptism as a useless work of man.

6.            The resurrection means we have a reason to die.

A.                 Everyone needs a reason to die.  We must die to live.  And the resurrection gives us this hope.  –1 Cor.15:17

1.              It means our labor in the Lord is not in vain  –1 Cor.15:54-58

B.                 But it doesn’t mean this to everyone, for many have never accepted life that they might live.

1.              Many live today with no hope for tomorrow.

2.              Many spend their lives in vain labors (laying up treasures here) and face death as a moment of tremendous terror.

7.            Conclusion:  We have these things then, that the Resurrection of Jesus, from the dead means to us today.  But it does not mean all these things to everyone.  Some still don’t believe the scriptures, some reject Jesus, some deny the afterlife, some turn away from baptism and forgiveness, and some live in constant fear of a defeated enemy –death.

A.                 What about you?  What does the resurrection mean to you?  Is it the burning fire that drives all your hopes and actions, or is it just another “doctrine” of the church?

What you should put into prayer

Mt. 6:9-13 Jesus left an example of the model prayer. It involved praise, praying for the kingdom, asking for necessities, asking for forgiveness and so on. It is a good starting place for our study of prayer.

1. What You Say: First, we will consider some of the things you should say in your prayers. This is by no means a comprehensive list. It is sufficient for our purposes of basically outlining prayer.

    1. Praise: Jer. 33:11 (You should verbalize praise to God in your prayers.) Heb. 13:15 (Praising is a way of making sacrifice to God today.)

    2. The Church: Rom. 1:9, Col. 1:3 (You should pray for the well being of the church.)

    3. Necessities: Prov. 30:8 (Solomon did not want poverty or wealth. You should be content to ask for only the basic necessities.)

    4. Confession And Forgiveness1 Jn. 1:8-10 (You should confess to God the sins you've committed.) Ps. 51:1-4 (David provides an excellent example of confessing to God and seeking forgiveness.)

    5. Special Requests1 Jn. 5:15 (There may be other things you wish to request such as; help sick, personal situation, protect friends, etc..) Jas. 4:3 (Just be certain these requests are not for your own pleasure.)

    6. Thankfulness: Ps. 107:22, 1 Thes. 5:18 (You should express thankfulness to God. It, like praise, is a kind of sacrifice.)

2. What You Do: This section has to do with your attitude and actions as they relate to prayer.

    1. Faith: Jas. 1:6-7, Lk. 11:11-13 (You should have faith, not that God will give you whatever you want but that he will do what is best for you.) Acts 4:24-29 (They quoted scriptures of promise as an expression of their faith that God would accomplish his plan.)

    2. No Foolish Requests: Jonah 4:3 (Jonah requested death. Although your requests may not be so overtly foolish, they may be foolish just the same.)

    3. Persistent: Lk. 11:5-10 (Jesus taught that we should persist in telling God our requests.)

    4. Holy Hands1 Tim. 2:8 (You are to "lift up holy hands" in prayer. What does this mean?)

       Ps. 134:2, Isa. 1:15, 2 Chron. 6:12-13 (That was a common prayer posture in that day. However, there are other acceptable postures, e.g. Acts 9:40 [kneeling], Mt. 26:39 [face down], Mk. 11:25 [standing]. Therefore this one is not binding.)

       Jas. 4:8, Job 17:9, Ps. 24:4-5 (Holy hands or clean hands is a symbol of a clean life.) Ps. 66:18, Prov. 28:9, Mic. 3:4, 1 Jn. 3:22 (Trying to Live a clean life is an essential prerequisite to good prayer. Live what you pray.)

Why bad things happen to good people

Job 21:7-9, 17 (At times we are troubled with the problem of human suffering. Some wander how a benevolent God can allow good people to suffer. Job posed a similar question. He asked how God can allow evil people to prosper. He later answered his own question by saying they are eventually punished.)

1. Things To Think About:

    1. Why Didn't God Make A World Free From Suffering: Gen. 3:1-6, 17-19 (The fact is, he did! There was no suffering or death in the world until Satan convinced man to sin which brought suffering into the world. Therefore, let's put the blame where it belongs, on Satan.)

    2. Am I Being Punished: Lk. 13:1-5 (We often respond to problems by assuming they are a specific punishment for some bad things we've done. Jesus shows us that is not the case.)

    3. Is It Really That Bad: Jas. 1:2-3 (At times we may be assuming something is bad when it's really good in the long run. For example, temptation seems bad, but it can be good if we endure.)

    4. Does God Cause It Or Allow It: Jas. 1:13-15 (When problems tempt you, remember, God does not tempt us.) Job 42:11 (God was said to cause the evil that happened to Job.) Job 1:12 (Here we learn that God caused it, not by directly doing it, but by allowing Satan to do it.) Job 1:21-22 (Job appropriately responds to the situation by not blaming God. Therefore, God doesn't directly cause problems that tempt us. He allows other forces to work and thus indirectly causes them. So don't blame God foolishly.)

2. Different Reasons Bad Things Happen:

    1. God Has A Purpose: Jn. 9:1-3 (Jesus said God allowed this man's blindness in order to achieve a special purpose.) Gen. 45:5, Gen. 50:20 (Joseph understood that his time of slavery served a special purpose. It may be that some problems we face serve a special purpose. If nothing else, the glory of God can be seen in the dignified way we weather these difficulties.)

    2. Reaping What You Sow: Gal. 6:7-8, Isa. 17:10-11 (Some actions have a natural consequence that is unpleasant. Some problems we have are the result of reaping these natural consequences.)

    3. Being Effected By Others: Josh. 24:15 (God allows us all the opportunity to choose whether or not we will serve him. Some will make the unwise choice to live in sin.) 2 Sam. 13:11-15 (Since we do not live in a glass bubble, we are certain to reap some consequences of other people's bad choices. Tamar was effected by Amnon's bad choices.)

    4. Natural Law: Mt. 5:45 (Natural law brings rain on the just and the unjust. The same storm that brings rain may also bring tragedy.)

    5. Bad Luck: Eccl. 9:11 (There is an element of chance and risk in all that's around us. Sometimes we suffer ill because of plain old bad luck.)

Conclusion: In Siberia that discovered a mountain that was over 23,000 feet tall. It had been overlooked because of the constant blowing snow. We often overlook the mountain of hope and love God has set before us with the chance he's given us to go to heaven because of life's daily problems. Rom. 8:18, 28 (Look past the snow and realize that all things will work out if you seek and obtain your great heavenly reward.)

You are as strong as when...

Introduction: 2 Pet. 1:5-10 (This passage lists what some call the Christian graces. To grow as a disciple, you must grow in these areas. If you lack these areas, you will not grow. If you are not growing, are you weakening? Are you as strong as you were when you were first baptized? Are you as dedicated as when you first become an Elder, Deacon, teacher, worker, wife, husband, parent, etc.?)

1. A Pretense Of Religion: Hos. 11:7 (Some try to maintain a pretense of religion and "call it good". Are you still calling to God, but not exalting him by growing as a disciple?)

2. Filled With Self: Prov. 14:14 (A backslider is characteristically self absorbed. As a devoted disciple you governed your decisions by what God wanted. You were, in effect, absorbed with God. Are you passionately dedicated to letting God's will guide your decisions? Or, are you self engrossed in that you let your own desires dictate your decisions?)

3. Some Specific Areas To Consider: (Follows are some specific examples of areas you may consider to test if you are as strong as you used to be. Note how these areas correlate with the Christian graces.)

     A. Fulfill Your Role In The Church: (faith, knowledge, patience) Heb. 13:17, 1 Cor. 14:12 (Perhaps your role is specific such as that of an Elder or a teacher. Are you as conscientious in that role as you once were?) 1 Cor. 12:14-20, Eph. 4:16 (No matter what your role, it is important. There is something every joint must supply. Are you as committed to doing your part as you once were?)

     B. Fulfill Your Role In The Family: (virtue, godliness, temperance, patience, charity) 1 Pet. 3:1, 6-7 (As a spouse you should fulfill your role and guide your mate in a godly direction. Are you as devout in doing that work as you once were?) Prov. 22:6, Deut. 4:9 (Parents must teach and discipline their children. Are you as careful to teach your children as you once were? Are you as determined to be a good parent as when your baby was first born?)

     C. Maintain Your Moral Integrity: (virtue, temperance, godliness) Rom. 1:21-22, Heb. 3:13 (These verses depict the moral corruption of some being a result of a gradual decline into sin's deception. Are your moral standards as strong as they used to be? Are you gradually declining? Are there some things you once instinctively avoided that you now frequently do?)

     D. Maintain Your Bible Knowledge: (knowledge) 1 Tim. 4:13, Hos. 4:6 (Paul told Timothy to give attention to reading and studying. Israel was spiritually destroyed because of their knowledge deficiency. Are you as strong in knowledge as you once were? Do you study as often and as diligently as you once did?)

     E. Maintain Your Church Attendance: Heb. 10:25 (We know we shouldn't neglect to assemble. But some find the most pitiful excuses to not come to church. It sometimes even deteriorates to not coming "because I didn't want to". Are you as frequent in the assembly as you once were? Do you use excuses you once spurned?)

     F. Maintain Doctrinal Purity2 Tim. 4:2-4, 1 Tim. 4:16 (Paul told Timothy to pay special attention to doctrinal concerns. This includes any kind of teaching, anything taught. Doctrine includes moral issues, worship issues, salvation issues, etc. Are you as strong as you once were in these areas?)

4. God Will Not Tolerate Backsliding: Isa. 1:4 (Backsliding provokes God's anger. If you sense yourself weakening as a disciple, you need to realize the danger.)

Conclusion: (Consider the formula for growth prescribed in our text. If you are strong, keep it up. If you sense yourself weakening, make a decision to reverse the process now, before you fall completely away. If you have fallen, realize that God will not tolerate your condition. Repent and return to God now while there is still time.)

Evangelism

This section contains sermons that address Evangelism, including the importance and commission to spread the gospel as well as practical lessons that focus on the "How to" of evangelism.

10 Questions you should be able to answer about the death of Jesus

Introduction:

A. Judging by advance ticket sales and media attention, the movie, “The Passion of The Christ,” already is one of the most popular and controversial films of our time. These questions will help in thinking through the movie and in discussing it with others.

B. Passion, used in this sense means the suffering of Christ. It comes from a Latin word meaning “having suffered”.

1. Do you know why Jesus had to die?

A. When learning from The Passion of The Christ the facts about Jesus' suffering and crucifixion, it's essential to understand the reason for it. One of the most important of the many reasons given in the Bible why Jesus had to die was to receive the wrath of God in the place of others. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.

B. And because God is just and holy, He must punish those who have sinned. But because He also is loving, He was willing to send His Son -- Jesus -- to take the hammer blow of His wrath so that others might receive His mercy.

C. When Jesus allowed Himself to be spiked onto that wooden cross, He was accepting God's curse so that sinners could receive God's blessings forever. As Galatians 3:13 puts it, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'“

2. Do you know who really killed Jesus?

A. There is no single, source to blame for killing Jesus.

B. First Century Perpetrators:

1. Judas betrayed him

2. The apostles forsook him

3. The Jewish religious leaders hated Jesus and drove the crucifixion.

4. The soldiers arrested Him and delivered Him to the Roman official, Pontius Pilate, for execution, and actually beat him and nailed him on the cross.

5. Pilate could have released Jesus, but he, too, shares responsibility because he succumbed to the pressure of the crowd.

6. The crowd in Jerusalem who kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:23).

7. The list of culprits in the first century goes on & on, but there are other culprits.

C. Sinners like you and me who killed Jesus. “While we were yet sinners,” the Apostle Paul tells us, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

D. Satan had his part, like the ugly mob boss who orders the execution of an enemy, when he entered the heart of Judas to betray Christ (John 13)

E. No one can point a finger at any other person or group for the death of Jesus. Your sins were the reason Jesus had to be crucified.

3. Do you understand why the crucifixion of Jesus wasn’t just a terrible mistake?

A. Even, God the Father had His role in the Death of Jesus.

1. The Bible clearly says that Jesus was “delivered over by the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).

2. Jesus did not die by mistake. Although our sins made Jesus' death necessary, God brought it to pass. So in God's sending Jesus to receive His wrath so others could receive eternal life, sinners are saved from God, by God.

B. Ultimately though, it was Not any man, or demon, who took the life of Jesus, but rather Jesus Christ himself who laid it down:

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” Matthew 26:52-54

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.” John 10:17,18

4. Do you realize why Jesus' death was different from the death of everyone else in history?

A. The death of Jesus was unique because His life was unique. Since Jesus never sinned, He never had to die; He chose to die. “In whom there was no guile

B. And because Jesus never broke the law of God, He could die as a substitute for lawbreakers.

C. Scripture tells us that Jesus was our “Propitiation” that is, our acceptable sacrifice.

1. The sacrificial lamb in the OT had to be spotless

D. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains, God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

5. Do you know why Jesus cried from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)?

A. When God in His justice laid the crushing guilt of sinners upon Jesus, God in His holiness then had to reject His own Son as a sinner.

B. As Jesus was suspended between earth and heaven, the prophecy of Isaiah 53:10 was fulfilled:

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin,”

6. Do you know why Jesus' last words were, “It is finished” (John 19:30)?

A. God told mankind what would happen to the Christ in the form of prophesies, many hundreds of years before Jesus came. All through the gospels we find the phrase “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets…” Jesus himself said he came “Not to destroy the law but to fulfill it”.

B. Jesus could not say it is finished, until he had fulfilled all the prophesies that were to be fulfilled by the Christ before his death.

C. Because of His love, God sent Jesus to be the propitiation -- the wrath-taker -- for the sins of people who did not yet love Him.

“In this is love,” 1 John 4:10 says, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

D. Once He had taken our guilt and God's punishment, Jesus triumphantly declared to His Father, “It is finished,” and died.

7. Do you see the relationship between Jesus' death and His resurrection?

A. The resurrection of Jesus vindicates all His claims.

B. Anyone could claim, as Jesus did, to be the only way to God (John 14:6).

C. He did not claim to be a great preacher, or a moral leader, He claimed to be God’s only son, and the only way to Heaven.

1. I could claim to be a great preacher or a moral leader and some would agree and some would disagree, but you would throw me out on my ear if I claimed to be God’s only son.

D. But Jesus substantiated this and all His other claims by doing something no one else has ever done -- rising from the dead, never to die again.

E. Moreover, by not leaving Jesus in the grave, God showed that He accepted His Son's death as a substitute for the death of others.

F. The Bible is plain that the cross of Jesus, without the resurrection, would have meant, “your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

G. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20), as proof that Jesus' death in the place of sinners satisfied the requirements of God's justice.

8. Do you realize what the death of Jesus can do for you that you cannot do for yourself?

A. First among many things is this:

B. The death of Jesus can make you righteous in the sight of God.

1. No amount of good that we do can atone for our sins or earn us a place in heaven.

C. And if we die without receiving the benefit of Jesus' death, the wrath of God will fall on us forever. “The wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23

D. Conversely, the Bible speaks of those who have experienced the benefit of the cross as those who have “been justified by His blood,” and declares that we “shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9).

E. To be “justified” means more than having all sins forgiven. It also means to be given credit for living the perfect life Jesus lived.

F. “Through his life we are saved” (Romans 5:11)

G. Only a perfect life gains entrance into a perfect world with a perfect God. And only through the death of Jesus can we get the perfect life of Jesus that we need to enter heaven.

9. Do you understand the central message of this greatest story ever told?

A. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was crucified as a substitute for sinners, and He rose from the dead to be King over everyone and everything forever.

10. Do you know the biblical response to the message of The Passion of The Christ?

A. It's summarized in one of the best-known and best-loved verses in the Bible:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Conclusion:

A. Many people will have deep, but merely temporary, emotional responses to The Passion of The Christ. May the Lord grant you to find in the greatest evil ever committed -- the death of Jesus -- the greatest, richest and most satisfying blessing ever offered -- God Himself.

B. Will this be a momentary softening, or will it be the beginning of a long term change in your commitment to the Lord…you decide.

Advantages of Being a Christian

 

Introduction: Mk. 10:29-30 (Christ speaks here of the rewards of being a Christian. From the perspective of the sacrifices we make to serve him, he explains we gain more in return in this life, and in the life to come. This study is about those advantages of being a Christian.)


I. In This Life: Mt. 10:34-36 (Christ warns us that following him creates controversy with those who will not follow. We must expect to make enemies out of those who count themselves an enemy of God when we devote ourselves to Christ. But Christ teaches there is great return in this life for this sacrifice.)


1. Property: Acts 4:34-35 (Though these Christians acted voluntarily in selling all their land, their act shows the character of REAL Christianity. To be a Christian is to share what you have to help other Christians. There is no circle of associates that so freely make their possessions available to their fellows as REAL Christians.)

2. Siblings: Mk. 3:31-35 (Christ spoke of the sibling relationship that exists between fellow disciples. When we are down and out, there is nothing like having a good brother or sister we can talk to, lean on, depend on for relief in our dark hour. Such is the relationship that exists between REAL Christians.)

3. Parents: I Tim. 5:1-2, Acts 9:36 (Paul spoke of the respect we should have for others, that we regard our elder brothers and sisters like parents. This is such a unique blessing of being a Christian. Where else can you find such a supply of godly mothers and fathers? Think of the advantage of having women like Tabitha to be like a mother to you. This is what it is like among REAL Christians.)


II. With Persecutions: (Christ acknowledges that among all these great advantages is the inevitable sacrifice of serving him. It will always involve the suffering of the flesh being repressed. It can sometimes also bring persecution in varying degrees.) Phil. 3:8 (Paul says the losses we suffer in this life due to serving Christ are negligible when compared with the promised blessing.) II Cor. 4:17 (Again, Paul spoke of the afflictions related to serving Christ. Though this affliction is there, to be sure, it brings a greater magnitude of reward. So the Christian life does have its difficult side, but it’s well worth the trouble.)


III. In The World To Come: (Christ adds to the package the reward we will receive after this life.) Jn. 4:36 (The best harvest for all your labors comes in eternity. Though there are these advantages in this life, the real reward comes later.) II Cor. 5:1 (Paul speaks of our earthly house [body] being replaced with a much better dwelling [immortal body] in heaven.)


1. Eternal: (This term emphasizes our reward is perpetual, throughout ceaseless eternal ages.)

2. Life: Lk. 16:25 (The same term is here translated "lifetime". Note how it points to the rich man’s quality of life. The term carries this idea above the ordinary idea of existence.)


Conclusion: (The things we have studied about the advantages of being a Christian bring the following thoughts to mind.)


1. Is your service like that of a REAL Christian?

2. It is to your advantage to become one.

3. It is to your advantage to remain faithful as one.

Whatever your station in life, there is something in this study that speaks to you. The advantages of being a Christian should motivate you to serve him in the manner described in this study.)

Andrew the Ordinary

1. Introduction: The Story of Andrew meeting & bringing his brother, Simon to Jesus:

Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

A. Andrew was a fisherman, not an orator, not a great leader of men, just a simple fisherman...
B. Who happened to be a disciple of John, a close disciple of John...
C. A disciple who listened to John
D. Now, Peter was leader of the Apostles.

1. He accompanied Jesus to the mount of Transfiguration and into Gethsemane the night he was betrayed.
2. He was given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven by Jesus.
3. He preached the 1st Gospel sermon and baptized 3000 in one day.
4. He was miraculously delivered by the Angel from Prison.
5. He preached the first sermon to the Gentiles.
6. He is the main character in the first 10 chapters of Acts.

E. Andrew, on the other hand was none of those things, in fact, he is most often introduced as "Andrew, Simon Peter's Brother" as though the writer is afraid you won't know who he is talking about.

2. What can we learn from Andrew?

A. He was a man who immediately accepted truth, even when it mean leaving what was familiar and comfortable to him:

1. He left following John to follow Jesus

a. This means that his discipleship with John was obviously real. He paid attention to the things John said, such as "The one who comes after me, his shoes I am not worthy to unlatch."
b. Do you pay attention to the things of God as you're taught? Ac.17:11
c. He immediately left his livelihood of fishing to follow Jesus
d. Would you leave your career to follow the master?
e. He worked for Dad, and thus when he left fishing, he left his family.
f. Would you leave your family for service to the Master?

B. He lived in the shadow of his brother.

1. As far as we know, he never complained about it.
2. Oh, he probably argued with the rest of the apostles as to who was the greatest, but we never find him using Peter as an excuse.
3. Aaron and Miriam were not so noble. (Numbers 12) They got fed up with living in Moses' shadow & tried to claim a portion of his authority/leadership for themselves.
4. Michael Jordan was awesome, but by himself it wouldn't have been much of a team. In fact, not only wouldn't they have won those 5 championships, he wouldn't have won even one game!
5. Do you ever use someone else as an excuse not to do what you can? Or get jealous of someone else's position or recognition in the church?
6. He didn't hoard for himself the blessings of Jesus b/c he would be overshadowed by Peter.

a. Do you hoard God's blessings b/c you don't want someone to replace you or become more important to the church than you?
b. Or do you share freely the blessings of Salvation in Jesus?

C. He did not use his ordinariness as an excuse.

1. Moses had trouble with this "Lord, I'm not an eloquent man"..."Lord they won't listen to me"... etc. (Exodus 2)
2. A catastrophe is the result of many small, seemingly insignificant failures...any one of which could have changed the outcome.
3. Do you ever allow your ordinariness to get in the way of doing what you can?
4. God uses ordinary people to accomplish great things

D. He did not "get in the way" of Peter's greatness because of his own ordinariness

1. Do you ever "throw a monkey wrench" in something because you are not the leader or specially important, or it's not getting done your way, or "no-one asked me..."?

3. Application:

A. Casserole...
B. We have a revival coming up in about 3 weeks. What are you going to do for it?
C. If you see that the building isn't vacuumed, or we're short on visitors cards.
D. If you have a friend who is not a Christian, are you going to bring them to hear?
E. If you walk into the kitchen and there is a dirty dish...
F. If you see someone who seems down, or sitting alone, go talk with them
G. If you notice someone wasn't at the assembly this week, call them, or send them a card.
H. Show up on work day, even if you aren't going to be in charge of a project.
I. If you know of someone who has a need, give them a cup of water in the Lord's name, so to speak...meet their need.
J. What makes a team great is not that everyone is an "apostle Peter" but that everyone on the team does what they can do.
K. We are a body, every piece is important (1 Cor.12)
L. Tell story of how some significant work got started [ie. Simeon visiting the church in Pearland, etc.]

1. How many small things...

4. Conclusion:

A. Just because you may be ordinary does not mean what you do is unimportant, or not valuable.
B. Look around you:

1. Pay attention...that is how you learn to recognize truth
2. Remember our task...saving souls

 

Baptism Into

Introduction: Rom. 6:3 (Paul describes baptism as being into Christ's death. Thus scriptural baptism is "into". In this way baptism contacts the sinner with salvation. In seeking to understand what baptism puts one into, we will also learn about re-baptism or being baptized correctly for the first time.)

1. Baptism Is Immersion In Water:

    Jn. 3:23 (John selected this particular location because it had much water. This shows that baptism was by immersion, not sprinkling or pouring.) Acts 8:38 (They came to water, stopped the chariot and both went into the water. This shows they practiced immersion in water, not sprinkling.) Acts 10:47-48 (Peter commanded water baptism.) Mt. 3:11 (But Spirit baptism was a promise, not a command.) Eph. 4:5 (By this time there was only one baptism. Therefore either Spirit baptism or water baptism must have ceased. If water baptism ceased, there is a command we cannot obey. If Spirit baptism remains, there is a promise that has not yet been fulfilled.)

    If your baptism was by sprinkling or used an element other than water, you have never been scripturally baptized. You must be re-baptized or better said; correctly baptized for the first time.

2. Baptism Into Christ: Gal. 3:27 (Baptism puts the sinner inside Christ.)

    Our Savior: Lk. 2:11 (Christ is our savior, therefore to be put inside him is to contact your salvation.)

    Our Salvation: 2 Cor. 5:17 (Being put in Christ is what makes one a new creature. Therefore scriptural baptism is for salvation because it connects you with your savior. Can you say your denominational baptism was for salvation when you prayed for salvation before that?)

    If your baptism was not for salvation, you have never been scripturally baptized. You must be re-baptized or better said; correctly baptized for the first time. If you got married to the wrong person, would you have to re-do the ceremony?

3. Baptism Into The Church: 1 Cor. 12:13 (Baptism puts one in the one body, the church.) Heb. 10:8 (By one Spirit does not mean Spirit baptism. Compare with "by the law". This means by the authority of the Spirit.)

    Christ's Body: Col. 1:18, 24 (The body is the church.)

    Salvation: Eph. 2:16 (Reconciliation is inside the body.) Heb. 2:17 (Reconciliation is equivalent to salvation. Therefore, salvation is in the body. There is no salvation outside the church.) 2 Cor. 5:17-21 (The same process that puts you in Christ puts you in the one body where you are reconciled to God. Therefore baptism is for salvation.)

    If your baptism joined you to a denomination, then you have never been baptized into the one body. If you have never been baptized into the body you have never been reconciled to God and you must be re-baptized or better said; correctly baptized for the first time. If you were admitted into Cameron University, would you have to "reapply" to be admitted into Texas Tech?

4. Baptism Into The Name: Mt. 28:19 (Jesus said baptism is in [or into] the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.)

    God's Authority: Phil. 2:9-10 (We will bow to the Lord's authority, not a statue of his name. "In the name" is equivalent to "by God's authority".) Col. 3:17 (Doing something in the Lord's name is equal to doing it by his authority.)

    Salvation: Acts 4:12 (It is only by the Lord's authority that you can be saved. Since baptism is by that authority and puts you in that name, it is necessary for salvation.)

    If your baptism was not according to God's plan as described above, then God didn't authorize your baptism. Can a baptism not authorized by God be considered valid? If you had the wrong name on a car title, would that title be valid? Would you have to re-register the vehicle?

5. Re-Baptism: Acts 19:1-5 (Being baptized again is a part of New Testament doctrine. Many want to get into heaven on a baptism that is different than the one baptism of Scripture. If you, like these, were not scripturally baptized, you need to be re-baptized or baptized correctly for the first time.)

 

Being a Disciple

1. All Christians Should Be Disciples:

     A. The Meaning Of "Go Teach": Mt. 28:19-20 (This phrase translates the following: Strong's #3100 matheteuo {math-ayt-yoo'-o} 1) to be a disciple of one 1a) to follow his precepts and instructions 2) to make a disciple 2a) to teach, instruct. Therefore, to teach all nations is to make disciples of all nations. This discipling is further accomplished by teaching disciples to observe the commands of Jesus. To be a disciple is to constantly learn to follow the teachings of Jesus.)

     B. Our Purpose2 Tim. 2:2 (The purpose of this series of studies is to train you to be a better disciple so that you may teach others to be better disciples.)

2. To Be A Disciple Is To Put Christ First:

     A. Christ Must Be First Before All Others: Lk. 14:26-33 (Jesus advocated that we love him above all other family and friends. Without this kind of love, you cannot be a true disciple. He illustrated incomplete discipleship with stories of a half-finished tower and an unfought battle. Is your christianize incomplete? Are you trying to call a truce instead of fighting Satan? To be his disciple you must have total love and total commitment.)

     B. You Must Love God More Than Anybody: Mt. 22:37-38 (The most important command is to love God. All other commands hang on the principle of love. You must love God with all your being. This is a totally consuming love.)

     C. The Kingdom Must Be First: Mt. 6:33 (Putting Christ first means seeking his kingdom first. This means if you are a true disciple, the church will be very important to you.)

3. To Be A Disciple Is To Imitate Christ:

     A. A Disciple Must Copy The Master: Mt. 10:24-25 (It is enough for the disciple to copy his master. Discipleship means to imitate the behavior of our Master, Jesus.)

     B. Follow His Steps1 Pet. 2:21 (Imitating Christ means following his example. Note this means following in his steps, not just in his general direction. Illustrate with walking through a minefield and being particular to follow each step.)

     C. Self Denial: Mt. 16:24 (Following Christ requires taking up a cross of self denial.)

4. To Be A Disciple Is To Continue In His Word:

     A. Learn From The Master: Jn. 8:31 (To be a disciple, a student of Jesus, you must study his word. Can you honestly consider yourself a student of Jesus if you never "sit at his feet" [study his word]?)

     B. Search Vs. Scan: Acts 17:11 (Jesus taught us to search the scriptures. There is a very real difference between an intense search and a careless scan. Illustrate with searching for a lost jewel as opposed to just scanning for it. God's word is a precious treasure. You should search diligently to find its jewels.)

     C. Be Skillful: Heb. 5:12-14 (The only way to become skillful in God's word is by reason of use, continual study. The more you study, the more you sharpen your skills in handling God's word.)

5. To Be A Disciple Is To Bear Fruit: Jn. 15:1-8 (Jesus taught we must bear much fruit. What makes a fruit tree a FRUIT tree?? Fruit! As a part of Christ, the vine, you must bring forth abundant fruit. This is what discipleship demands.)

 

From Servants to Sons

Introduction: Gal. 4:1-7 (In the text, Paul discusses how we can go from being a servant to being a son. The purpose of this study is to explore the dynamics of how you can gain admittance into God's family and to understand how the blessings of being in God's family should motivate you in service to him. We will look at how God's plan to adopt us into his family unfolded through the ages.)

1. Promise To Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 (God's initial promise to Abraham included the promised blessing to all nations.) Gen. 22:18 (This promise was recounted on several occasions. In this instance he calls it the seed of Abraham.) Gal. 3:16 (Paul explained that the seed to which the promise referred not to the entire nation of Israel, but to one person, Christ.)

2. The Law Given: Gal. 3:19, Rom. 3:19 (The law was given to define sin and bring the world up to the appointed time the seed-promise would be fulfilled.) Gal. 5:1 (Because they could not perfectly keep the law, it was seen as a yoke of bondage.)

3. The Heir Child In Bondage: Gal. 4:1-3 (The text speaks of Israel as a child, under the custodial care of the law, in bondage to the law and the sin it defines.) Gal. 3:23-24 (This law would bind Israel until the seed-promise was fulfilled in Christ.)

4. The Fullness Of Time: Gal. 4:4, Mk. 1:15 (God had his own timetable. When the time had come, he sent Jesus to live under the law and perfectly keep the law.) 1 Pet. 1:19 (Since Jesus perfectly kept the law, he was a spotless sacrifice.)

5. Adopted: Gal. 4:5 (Because Jesus did this, we can now be adopted by God into his family.) I Jn. 3:1 (Consider what an expression of love it is that God will actually let us come into his family. Illustrate with parents adopting a child who could stake no claim to their parental care. What of us, spiritually orphaned by our own doing?)

6. Sons Can Cry Abba: Gal. 4:6, Rom. 8:15 (In their culture, servants were not allowed to call the father of the house "Abba father". This was a privilege reserved only for the children. Because God is willing to adopt you, you have the opportunity to approach him as a loving Father, not just as a master over slaves.)

7. Heirs: Gal. 4:7, Rom. 8:17 (Through the process of spiritual adoption, you can become a joint heir with Christ and be glorified by God with Jesus.) Gal. 3:29 (In this way you can become an heir of the promise given to Abraham.) Eph. 3:6 (Even we Gentiles, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel can become heirs.)

8. The Steps: Jn. 1:12 (Believing does not make you a child of God, it makes you a candidate for adoption.) Gal. 3:26-27 (Your faith does not make you God's child until you are baptized.) Titus 3:5-7 (Baptism, the washing of regeneration, allows you to become an heir of the promise.)

9. Relationship Defined: Rom. 8:1, 14 (Our relationship in God's family is defined by our walking after the Spirit's guidance through God's word, not after the flesh.) Rom. 8:13 (To remain in God's family, you must live up to the standards of conduct he has set forth. If you do not, you will be expelled.) (Imitating these standards does not make you God's child. only the seed can make you his child. Illustrate with family baby-sitting other children, those children following house rules does not make them a part of that family. Only the seed can do that. You must obey the gospel to be adopted by God. Living a moral life without obedience to the gospel will not save you.)

10. The Great Motive: Heb. 6:13-19 (Being an heir of the seed-promise gives us hope to anchor our soul to the standards God has set forth. We live up to these standards for the hope of being glorified with Christ as a joint heir with him.)

 

Here is How you can Help

 Introduction1 Cor. 3:9 (Today you have a unique opportunity to be a coworker with God in his kingdom. Who could pass up such an opportunity? The fact is, there are many who don't help in the work because they don't know what to do. Many more would work if they just knew what to do. Here is what you can do to help.)


I. What You Can Do: Acts 6 (This passage speaks of the work duties being divided up to maximize the churches effort. You may feel like you have no talent, but here are some important things that need to be done that require little specialized talent. By doing these things you will relieve the work burden, allowing those with other talents to see to other important work.) Mt. 25:35-36 (This passage mentions different things we must do to help advance the cause of Christ.) Rom. 12:4-8 (Note this passage lists some of the same kinds of things. It also mentions other talents we must use.)

  1. Benevolence: Isa. 58:7 (Part of their purpose in fasting was to give them opportunity to help the needy.) Acts 20:35 (Paul taught them to work so they could have to give to the needy.)

  2. Hospitality: 1 Pet. 4:9 (Another work that Jesus mentions is giving hospitality to strangers. This is a work you should use to help the church.)

  3. Visitation: Jab. 1:27 (You should not only visit the sick but also the widows and orphans.)

  4. Prison visitation: Heb. 13:3 (Though it is not common in our age of freedom to be jailed for Christianity, there are others in jail we should treat as we would want to be treated and visit them.)

  5. Ministry: Acts 6:1-4 (There was an important service that needed to be done. The apostles had no time to see to that need so others served the widows. You may be able to relieve other workers by doing a similar service.)

  6. Exhortation: Heb. 10:25 (You could do something as simple as calling someone who missed the assembly and seeing if they have a special need.)

  7. Love: Jn. 13:34-35 (This passage teaches us to love. We can make a great statement to the world by loving one another. We can show love by being friendly with each other, and by greeting our guests with genuine enthusiasm.)


II. Why It Is Important: (Think of these reasons it is so important for each of us, each of YOU to do what we all can.)

  1. It is your responsibility: Mt. 25:41-43 (God has given you certain abilities. These works you do are your response-to your-ability.)

  2. It helps others: Job 2:11 (Job's friends agreed to go be with Job just to help him. Your work, though it seems small, may be a great help to the ones you serve.)

  3. It helps the church: Eph. 2:21 (The picture Paul gives of the church here is one of each worker being joined together, teamwork.)


Conclusion: 1 Cor. 12:14-22 (No matter how small your part may seem to you, you need to work to help the cause of Christ. Each work is very important and essential to the body.)

Jesus' view of the authority of the scriptures

A.  

1        Have you never read?  Matthew 21:15,16,42; Mark 12:26,27

2        It is written.  John 8:17; Luke 24:25-27

3        In matters of doctrine.

a.       Resurrection  Luke 20:37,38; Exodus 3:6

b.      His exalted nature  Matthew 22:42-45; Psalms 110:1

c.       His mission  Luke 24:25-27; 44-46

4        In matters of morality and life.

a.       Facing temptation  Matthew 4:3-11

b.      Dealing with traditions  Matthew 15:3

c.       Even the least commands  Matthew 5:18; 23:23

5        The accounts in Genesis

a.       Creation  Matthew 19:4,5

b.      Cain & Able  Matthew 23:35; Hebrews 11:4

c.       Destruction of Sodom  Luke 17:28-32

d.      Flood  Matthew 24:37-39

6        It is of divine origin.

a.       David's Prophesy  Mark 12:26

b.      Law of Moses  Mark 7:10-13

c.       The source of truth  John 17:17

d.      Law can't fail  Luke 16:17

e.       My word won't pass away  Matthew 24:35

f.        Scripture cannot be broken  John 10:31-16; Psalms 82:6

7        The authority of the Bible is equal to the authority of Jesus himself.

a.       Why call ye me Lord?  Luke 6:46

b.      A wise man and a fool  Matthew 7:24-29

c.       Reject me...my words  John 12:48

The Danger of Delay

1. Introduction:
    A. Luke 14:15-24
    B. Delay cost these men everything
    C. Often we delay with the excuse that we are busy “thinking about it”  Will you die “thinking about it?”
    E. Today we will consider 3 areas where it is dangerous to delay

2. Getting yourself right with God
    A. You may need to obey the gospel
        1. “What hinder’s me from being baptized?”  Acts 8:36
        2. What is hindering you?
    B. Repent of sin in your life  Acts 8:22-24
        1. Peter said repent, not “one of these days you need to plan to…”
        2. Simon said “pray for me” not “well let me think about it…”

3. Growing Spiritually
    A. This takes effort, it doesn’t just happen
    B. Are you at church every time the door is open?  Why not?  What could be more important
        than gathering with saints for fellowship and worship?  Heb.10:24,25
    C. Do you study God’s word?  Why not?  Could you give 3 or 4 good reasons that it has
        been over a month since you “cracked the book”?  2 Tim.3:15-17
    D. Do you do good works for the church?  Eph.2:10
    E. Do you make excuses to God about things that need done and you aren’t doing them?
        Moses?  (Ex.4:2-4)  made excuses, but God didn’t accept them.  He won’t from you either.

4. Evangelism
    A. You are the earthen vessel the gospel has been left in 2 Cor.4:5-7
    B. “I don’t know the scriptures well enough to teach someone”  Is this your excuse?
        1. You can tell them how you were saved.
        2. You can learn where the basic verses which teach the gospel and the plan of salvation are.
        3. Bottom line is if you don’t the truth is that you don’t really care enough to do it.

5. Conclusion:
    A. Remember the thinking man sculpture?  He is really thinking isn’t he?
        Yet notice what it has gotten him?  He is frozen in that position.
        Not that reasonable thought is not good, it is, but if you don’t make yourself get with the task at
        hand,
        you too will be no better than the statue:  Frozen by indecision, inaction or indifference.
    B. What do you need to do?  Obey the gospel?  Repent of sin?  Work on growing as a Christian?
        Tell someone else the good news of salvation?
    C. Please don’t “die thinking about it”!

The Philippian Jailor

Introduction: Acts 16:16-39 (Our purpose is to study this story to learn about appropriate Christian behavior, and to learn how to become a Christian.) Acts 16:16-19 (This sets the stage for our story. Paul and Silas have assisted a young slave girl who was demon possessed. This cuts into the prophet making scheme her masters had going. It appears that this demon's presence gave her some ability to foretell the future.)

1. The Crimes Against Paul And Silas:

     A. False Charge: Acts 16:20-21 (The slave owners accused Paul and Silas of encouraging civil disobedience. This charge was made against Christians at other times, but the New Testament teaches the opposite. True Christianity has always called for loyalty to government and submission to civil law. The accusation was totally false.)

     B. Beaten And Imprisoned: Acts 16:22-24 (Without proper trial, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison. As Roman citizens, they had a legal right to due process, similar to the rights granted to all in the United States.) Mt. 5:11-12 (We must reflect joy in the face of harsh adversity and unfair persecution. Paul and Silas might have understandable demanded their civil rights and been disruptive. Instead, they submitted and endured their persecution with joy.)

2. The Good Example Of Paul And Silas:

     A. Praising God: Acts 16:25 (Rather than crying "foul", Paul and Silas sang and praised God, in the hearing of the other prisoners. Think of the impression this must have left.)

     B. Didn't Escape: Acts 16:26-28 (We might reason how Paul and Silas could have felt justified in escaping prison. They were not guilty of the crimes of which they were accused. According to Roman law, they were not even supposed to be there. Ask yourself, if Paul and Silas had protested and escaped, would the jailor had the opportunity to hear the gospel? This speaks volumes to you and me as to what power our good example can have.)

3. The Jailor Obeys:

     A. Eager To Learn: Acts 16:29-30 (The jailor reflected an attitude of being eager to learn.) Acts 17:11, Jas. 1:18-21 (We should be eager to investigate the word of God. In the context of that discussion, James says we should be more willing to hear than to speak.)

     B. Gospel Preached: Acts 16:31-32 (Some conclude from Paul's statement that all the jailor had to do to be saved is believe. Does this passage teach faith only?)

      Hope Only? Rom. 8:24

      Baptism Only? 1 Pet. 3:21

      What About Repentance? Lk. 13:3

      What About Confession? Mt. 10:32-33

      (People are grossly inconsistent in this view. Why not argue salvation by hope only or baptism only? Why argue faith only in one breath and then require repentance and confession? Why preach faith only and practice the sinner's prayer? The fact is, no one passage contains the entirety of God's plan. We must take all the passages on salvation to understand God's plan.)

     C. Obedient: Acts 16:33-34 (The jailor didn't question the plan. He was eager to obey because he was eager to hear. He was baptized into Christ.)

4. Some Didn't Repent: Acts 16:35-39 (The ones who accused Paul and Silas didn't want to face the wrong they had done. In similar fashion, most sinners don't want to face their sin.) 2 Cor. 5:9-11 (Some day you will have to face your sin. Why not face it now while you can do something about it. Be like the jailor and obey his gospel today.)

       

The Prodigal Son

Introduction: Lk. 15:11-24 (The story of the prodigal son shows us mans journey into sin and return to God. Today there are two kinds of "prodigal". If you are a Christian who has gone back to sin (II Pet. 2:20) you are a prodigal or if you have departed from the innocence of childhood into sin (Ps. 58:3) you are another kind of prodigal.)

    1. Lust And Conception: vs. 11-12 (The son considered his portion of the inheritance and anticipated what pleasure he could enjoy with it.) Jas. 1:13-15 (This shows the same process as it relates to one departing from God into sin.)

    2. Given Over To Sin: vs. 13 (It was not long until he went into the far country. Neither will it be long for one entertaining lust to go far into sin.) Acts 17:16 (The picture is of a place totally enslaved to idolatry. The prodigal was totally enslaved to riotous living.) Rom. 6:16 (You either serve God or are a slave to the devil.)

    3. Bottom Of The Barrel: vs. 14-16 (He became so low he intensely craved what the hogs were eating. At this point, what did he have to show for his decision to leave the fathers house?) Heb. 10:28-31 (If you have departed from God, you have counted Christ's blood unworthy and are in jeopardy of God's eternal wrath.)

    4. The Awakening: vs. 17 (The determination "I will arise" indicates the prodigal has come to from a state of near "insanity".) Heb. 10:32-39 (The Bible prescribes that you like the son, remember the safety and security of the fathers house.)

    5. The Humble Return: vs. 18-19 (The son had a planned speech that reflected great humility.) Jas. 4:10 (To be rescued you must admit your need for Christ and humble yourself to return to God.)

    6. The Father Awaits: vs. 20 (The father saw him coming yet a great way off which shows he was looking for the son. He then gave him a great reception. God awaits your return!)

    7. Obedience: vs. 21 Gospel (Acts 2:38) or prayer (Acts 8:19-23)

    8. Acceptance: vs. 22-24 (You have the assurance that God will accept you into his family if you repent and do his will.)

Conclusion: You must wake up to what you are facing (Mt. 25:41) and obey by returning to the Father (II Thes. 1:7-9).

The Spiritual Harvest

Matthew 9:35-38 

1. Introduction:
    A. Story of Jesus traveling from village to village, what he saw bringing us to:
        1. The Harvest is Plentiful  (vs. 36-38)
        2. And growing  -Mt.13:31-33

2. The Laborers –These are characteristics of laborers.  Do you meet the bill?  Are you:
    A. One of the Few, pray for more
    B. Compassionate  (vs.36)
    C. Devout  -Mt.22:37,38
    D. Loving  Mt.22:39; 1 Jn.4:20
    E. Meek  1 Pet.3:15
    F. Knowledgeable  -Col.4:6
    G. Zealous  (vs.35) 1 Pet.3:15; Acts 5:42

3. Recognizing the Harvest  (vs. 36)
    A. When you go into the fields to harvest, you need to be able to tell the crop from the weeds.
         Here are several types of people you will meet.
        1. Confirmed wolves –2 Tim.4:11-15
        2. Wolves in Sheep’s clothing –Mt.7:15; Mt. 23:13-15,23,25,27,29,33
        3. Sheep in the fold  Jn.10:4,5
        4. Sheep without a shepherd  Mt.9:36
            a. Fainting (distressed), scattered, no shepherd
            b. Needy  (vs.35)
            c. Recognizable  (vs.36)

4. Conclusion:
    A. The parable that never happened  Mt.13:3
        1. NOTE:  have everyone turn, say “I’m going to mis-read this parable, for emphasis, see if you notice the mistake”
        2. Read “Behold, NO sower went forth to so…the end”
    B. Will you sow?  Will you reap?  Or will you stand by while the harvest dies in the field?

The authority of the scriptures

B.     2 Timothy 3:15-17

1        All scripture is PROFITABLE for:

a.       The way of salvation

b.      Doctrine (teaching)

c.       Reproof (conviction)

d.      Correction (how to fix it)

e.       Instruction in righteousness  (how to keep it fixed)

2        That the man of God may be perfect (Complete)

3        Throughly furnished

4        Unto All good works

Do We Have All Things?

1        Christ's words will judge us  John 12:48

2        John 14:25,26

a.       He shall teach you all things

b.      And remind you of all things

3        John 16:12-15

a.       He shall guide you into all truth

4        Matthew 28:19,20

a.       Teaching Christians to observe all things

5        2 Corinthians 5:17-20

God the Father

Jesus the Christ

Holy Spirit

Apostles

Word of reconciliation (Bible)

Us

6        Acts 20:27

a.       I declared all the counsel of God

7        2 Peter 1:2-4

a.       Hath given unto us (apostles) all things (see John 14:26)

b.      That pertain to life and godliness

c.       Great and precious promises given unto us (apostles)

d.      That by these (all things, promises) ye might be partakers.

8        1 John 1:1-4,7

a.       That which we have seen and heard (John 14:26) declare we unto you

b.      These things we write unto you that your joy may be full

9        1 Peter 1:10-12

a.       The things inspired by the Holy Ghost were preached unto you

Alternatives To Biblical Authority:

1        The Pope

2        Modern Revelation

3        Anarchy

4        If we are to believe that only part of the Bible is applicable today, who shall we elect (allow) to decide what portions are and what portions are not applicable?

5        How can we know what is and is not `right' in our society today?

6        What is the Bible good for?  How do we know that?

E.     Other Related Passages:

1        You received the Word of God...from us  1 Thessalonians 2:13

2        2 Thessalonians 2:15-17

a.       Hold that which you have been taught by word, epistle...

b.      And establish you in every good word and work.

3        Psalms 119:105

a.       Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

4        Psalms 119:97

a.       O how I love thy law!  It is my meditation all the day.

5        Psalms 1:1-3
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of the sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;  his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

6        1 Corinthians 10:1-11

a.       These things happened to a tribe of nomad slaves (Jewish) in a wilderness approx. 2000 years before the coming of Christ.

b.      They were living under a different covenant.

c.       It's stated purpose was for application to the lives of Gentile Christians in the Metropolis of Corinth.

7        2 Timothy 3:15-17

a.       Timothy, a mixed-breed Jewish Christian, traveling as an evangelist, was told to use the scriptures (specifically the Old Testament) in his life.

Use Hospitality

Introduction: 1 Pet. 4:9 (Hospitality is an important and essential part of the Christian life. You must practice this virtue in order to please God. But you need to remember that God's commands are not given without reason. There is a purpose in being hospitable. In this sermon we will focus on USING hospitality to accomplish a specific purpose.)

    1. You Must Be Hospitable: Titus 1:8, 1 Tim. 3:2 (Hospitality is required of Elders.) Rom. 12:13 (The same is required of all Christians.) Mt. 10:14-15 (Breach of hospitality is a serious offense.)

    2. Use: (Hospitality has a practical use.)

       A. Help workers: Acts 16:15 (Lydia's hospitality helped Paul and his coworkers continue in their work and travels.)

       B. Reach lost: Mt. 5:13-16 (A hospitable, loving home helps project the kind of image that encourages others to seek God also.)

       C. Strengthen the church: Ps. 133:1 (The sweetness of good associations shared in hospitality helps Christians become stronger.)

    3. Without Grudging: (How to not be grudging.)

       A. Be motivated by love3 Jn. :5-8 (By -bringing people forward on their journey" [being hospitable] these were showing their love and showing that hospitality should be motivated by love.)

       B. Motivated by Courtesy1 Pet. 3:8 (Their are times hospitality is a matter of courtesy, such as visiting preacher, etc..)

       C. Prefer good company: Rom. 12:10 (You should be hospitable towards other Christians because you want to be with them.)

     Be hospitable to serve, not for reciprocation!

When is the last time you had someone in your home? brought them food? took them somewhere? How often do you USE hospitality?

 

Which Jesus Do You Love

 

Introduction: Jn. 8:1-11 (In this story people often see two sides of Jesus. Most herald the Christ who said, "he that is without sin cast the first stone". However, there is more to what he said. He also said, "go and sin no more". This is not a separate Jesus. This is the same man. The same Christ that brings forgiveness also brings responsibility. Many claim to love Jesus. But they often only think of the things about Jesus they like, the tender and forgiving side. Christ has many different aspects of his person, including the part that makes demands on you and me. Think about these facts about Christ and ask yourself which Jesus do you love.)


I. The Easy Jesus: (There is the part of Jesus most find easier to take. This is the part folks want to talk about, want to celebrate, want to claim allegiance to. Think of these representations of Christ.)


1. Baby Jesus: Lk. 2:1-14 (The birth of Christ provides a very sweet story. It gives us joy and hope. It is not threatening and offers no demands. So it is common to focus great attention on this story.)

2. Twelve Year Jesus: Lk. 2:41-49 (This story paints a picture of a great and wise person, though only twelve years old. Many conclude from this there is no doubt a prophet of God. Again, the story poses no obvious demands, offers no intimidating requirements on us personally.)

3. Healer Jesus: Lk. 6:17-19 (This and many occasions reveals Christ healed a great many people. This shows us his love, tenderness, compassion. As we consider these, many feel no demands from Christ, no threat. Many only sense warmth and kindness from this aspect of Christ.)


II. The More Difficult Jesus: (There are these other facts about Jesus that aren’t so frequently discussed. When we talk about the charming things people adore Jesus. But when we bring these other facts to bear on the subject people begin to question Christ’s identity and legitimacy.)


1. The Christ That Demands Obedience: Jn. 14:15 (The above stories compel us to love Jesus. Here we learn that love demands we be obedient. This represents a part of Christ some find harder to accept. In fact some don’t even acknowledge this Jesus, much less embrace him.)

2. The Christ That Demands Discipleship: Lk. 14:26-27 (Jesus taught he has rigorous demands on his disciples. If we are to belong to him and enjoy his blessings, we must be fully devoted to him. This represents another aspect of Christ many will not embrace.)

3. The Christ That Will Return For Revenge: Jude :14-15 (The scriptures also portray Christ as one who is vengeful against sin. He will come again some day to take revenge against all who refused his aid. This too is a side of Jesus many are not eager to acknowledge, much less accept.)


III. Others Wavered About Christ: (Not only do people today waver about Christ or reject certain aspects of him or accept only superficially, people during his ministry did so too. Notice how we mirror these people today in our rejection of certain features of Christ.)


1. Too Common: Mk. 6:2-3 (The people of Christ’s home area rejected his teaching because he was too common for them. He was just a carpenter. They couldn’t refute his teaching but they wouldn’t accept what he taught because there was another side of him, his commonality, they wouldn’t embrace. Some today make the similar mistake of rejecting Christ’s values because they are too "simplistic" and "old fashioned".)

2. Free Meal: Jn. 6:25-27 (Christ told some they weren’t following him for his miracles, they were just following him because he fed many people. This seems to imply some were just out for a free meal. This is symbolic of how some see Christ today. They see him just as a means of blessing, a celestial Santa Clause, a means to a free meal, rather than seeing him as one we should serve.)

3. Hard To Understand: Jn. 6:60-66 (Some of Christ’s disciples left him because they found his sayings difficult to understand. In similar fashion, many today don’t follow Christ because it’s "too hard" or don’t study his word because it’s "too confusing".)

4. Mission Minded: Lk. 9:51-53 (When going through Samaria, Christ had Jerusalem on his mind. He had to go to Jerusalem and die for the sins of the world. He was mission minded and the Samaritans didn’t like that his face was set to go to Jerusalem. In similar fashion, today some people don’t like that Christ is mission minded. He has a mission to preach the gospel to the world, and many reject this part of Christ. They like some things about him, but they don’t like this because they won’t join in the effort for his cause.)


Conclusion: (Folks who choose the side of Jesus that seems more palatable to them may not be getting off so easy as it seems.


1. The baby Jesus may not be as easy as some would like to think. Baby Jesus came to save man from sin. He was to be ruler over God’s people. Mic. 5:2   That means he has the right to rule you and guide you away from sin.

2. The twelve year Jesus may not be as easy as some would like to think. Twelve year Jesus spoke of being about the Father’s business. This reminds you and I we have a responsibility to the Father as well.)

3. The healer Jesus may not be as easy on us as some might think. The same power that let him heal enabled him to forgive sins. Mt. 9:5 This means he has the power to forgive your sins, or not. So this power obligates us to seek his favor.

You see, everything about Jesus obligates us. If we think we can get off easy by emphasizing the more palatable aspects of Christ, we are very mistaken. Which Jesus do you love? If you don’t love all things about him, you can’t have any part of him. We’ve read of many people in this study who rejected Christ because they rejected one small part about him. You will do the same if you don’t fully embrace him today.)

Who will you Crucify?

 Introduction: (Self or Jesus? The scriptures talk to us about Christ’s death and about dying a figurative death ourselves. In the principles we will study we will see we all have a choice to crucify self or Jesus.)


I. You Must Crucify Self: Gal. 5:24 (Suppressing the desires of the flesh is part of what it means to belong to Christ.)


1. Daily Effort: I Cor. 15:31 (This self sacrifice is a daily pursuit.)

2. Not Glory In Flesh: Gal. 6:13-14 (Paul spoke of those who gloried in the flesh. We crucify the flesh by refusing to glory in it.)

3. Don’t Serve Sin: Rom. 6:6 (The purpose of our being cleansed from sin is that we would not serve sin. So we must fight to avoid the old sinful habits that could so easily dominate our lives.)

4. Specific Targets: Col. 3:5 (The Lord commands us to put to death old sinful habits. He gives us specific things to target in our effort to crucify the flesh.)

A. Fornication: (Obviously any kind of illicit sexual sin.)

B. Uncleanness: (A general term to describe degenerate living. It includes almost any moral sin.)

C. Inordinate Affection: Rom. 1:26-27 (Lust for something that is vile and forbidden. It is associated with homosexuality in scripture.)

D. Evil Concupiscence: (A stronger word, indicating a craving for that which is wrong. Note this self crucifixion involves dealing with strong desires, things that are hard to defeat.)

E. Greed: I Tim. 6:10 (A term that cuts to the heart of human vice. Greed is so wrong because it can lead to so my other sins.)

5. Worth The Suffering: Rom. 8:17-18 (Our self denial and the suffering with Christ it brings is well worth the reward we will receive some day.) II Tim. 2:11-12 (If you die for him today you will live with him tomorrow. Suffering with Christ today lets you share in his eternal reign.)


II. You Can Abandon Jesus At The Cross: Gal. 2:20 (Paul spoke of being crucified WITH Christ. When we deny the flesh, we join Christ on a cross. He doesn’t die alone. When we fail to crucify the flesh, we are forsaking this opportunity to die with Christ and we are leaving him at the cross to die alone. Instead of leaving him to die alone, look at the opportunity you have to declare his life and death.)


1. Show His Life By Sharing His Death: II Cor. 4:10-11 (Paul spoke of dying daily for Jesus Christ. While this may be speaking of physical threats on their lives, it is not far from the principle of self denial. When you share in Christ death through self denial, you show his life to the world around you.)

2. Show His Death By Imitating His Life: I Jn. 2:6, Eph. 5:2 (The Lord commands us to imitate him, to try and be like him. When Paul speaks of this walk he calls to mind Christ’s death. A life of loving self sacrifice is certain to show Christ’s loving self sacrifice on the cross. Thus when we imitate his life, we call to mind his death.)


III. You Put Jesus Back On The Cross When You Stray: Heb. 6:4-6 (When you walk away from God you crucify Christ afresh and you openly shame him.)


IV. Your Sins Already Put Him On The Cross Once: I Pet. 2:24 (Peter’s words are emphatic. Christ, in his own body, took your sins to the cross. He alludes to the prophets words which will help us realize the significance of this concept.) Isa. 53:4-6 (The prophet uses equally emphatic language to explain what Jesus did on the cross. While we like sheep wander about in sin, Christ dutifully took the burden of our sin up Golgotha and hung with it on the cross. Your sins have put him on the cross once. The whip that scourged his back bears your fingerprints. The hammer that drove the nails into his hands bears your fingerprints. Wasn’t that enough? Must you crucify him again in the choice you make to serve sin?)


Conclusion: Rom. 8:13-14 (This leaves before us a simple choice. We can crucify self in this life and be rewarded in eternity. Or, we can serve self today, only to have God punish us in eternal death.)

Your Greatest Need

I. The Story Of Job:

     1. The Accuser: Job 1:6-11, I Pet. 5:8 (God was pleased with Job but Satan comes accusing that Job's strength cannot withstand temptation. This challenges not only Job, but all of humanity; that we will only follow God for immediate, material gain.)

     2. The Losses:

          A. Animals: Job 1:14-17

          B. Children: Job 1:18-19

     3. The Reason: Job 1:20-22 (Note that Job did not blame God for his misfortune.) Job 2:3 (These things did not happen to Job for any thing he had done.) Jn. 9:1-3 (Jesus teaches us that tragedy is not necessarily a direct punishment for some wrong that we have done. God had a special purpose in allowing these things to happen to Job. It was to answer Satan's challenge and show that man will follow God for more than shallow reasons.)

     4. The Debate: Job 4-Job 37 (There were three cycles [check Thompson's to define] involving Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Job's monologue, Elihu's answer and God's response.)

     5. The Feelings This Created: Job was sad, felt attacked by friends, was frustrated at not understanding God's purpose for his suffering.

     6. His Darkest Hour Revealed His Greatest Need: Job 9:32-35 (In his suffering, he cried out for a mediator; someone who would speak out to God in his behalf, that he might understand.

II. Your Darkest Hour: Ps. 53:2-3 (Your darkest hour is not personal hardship. It is sin.)

III. Your Greatest Need: This reveals your greatest need; a mediator to help you reach God. Can you imagine facing these without God: loss of love ones, financial loss, attack or betrayal? Can you imagine facing death without God? Ps. 23:4 You need a mediator!)

     1. Christ: I Tim. 2:5-6, Heb. 9:24 (He offers himself as a mediator between you and God.)

        A. To Identify With Your Problems: Heb. 4:15

        B. To Deal With Your Sin: Rom. 6:11-12 (He will deliver you from a life of service to sin.) I Pet. 3:18 (He will deliver you from your guiltiness.)

IV. What You Must Do: Lk. 13:1-5 (Human suffering reminds you of your sin [Gen. 3:19] and demands you repent.)

The Hope Of The Resurrection: Job 19:26/Ps. 17:15, I Jn. 3:2 (Christ holds forth the hope of your body being brought forth from the grave and re-fashioned in his likeness.)

 

Family

These are sermons that address issues related to the Christian home.  Here you will find sermons on God's teaching to husbands, wives, children, parents, grandparents, inlaws, etc.

An honorable mother

1.     Introduction:

A.     Mother’s really are amazing.  They pull off miracles all in the name of Love.

B.     Truthfully, no-one is more influential than a mother.

1.      No political regime, etc.

a.       George Washington: “All that I am I owe to my mother”

C.     God designed women to be wives and mothers, and despite 40 years of teaching to the contrary, women who devote themselves to their careers and working still have a nagging sense that they ought to be devoting themselves to their homes.

D.    We will look at mothers from two-perspectives:

1.      Those of us who are not mothers – children of mothers.

2.      Those here who are mothers.

2.     The honor due a Mother:

A.     Honor your Mother and Father

1.      Rich Young Ruler: Honor (Greek) = “to Prize”

a.       Cannot be done by self, must be done by others.

2.      Exodus 20:12 - Honor (Hebrews) = “Heavy” weighed down with riches.

a.       Honor comes with great responsibility

B.     Lev.19:3 “Let everyone of you revere his mother and father” Respect (Hebrew) = guard, protect.

1.      As you do things that are valuable, (ie. Photos – scrap booking, acid free paper; lock car; safe-deposit box, put special things in special places)

2.      David did for His mother: 1 Sam.22:1-4

a.       Being hotly pursued by Saul, took time to take mother 123 miles (246 round trip – walking) to King of Moab.

3.      Respect and protect her health – don’t push her to the point of a breakdown.  You Serve Her, instead of the other way around!

C.     Deut.27:16 “Cursed is anyone who despises his mother or father and the people say amen.

1.      Despises (Hebrew) = to take lightly.

a.       Not a aggressive and hostile “I hate you” attitude (although included)

b.      To take for granted, to ignore, have a “roll your eyes, whatever” attitude.

c.       Bible says whoever does this is cursed.

2.      This is where the feminist movement went wrong.  Motherhood treated lightly and actually turned hostile toward it.

3.      dismissed full time mothering as slavish and damaging.  How sad when scripture says to honor, respect, and esteem them.

D.    Not just today but everyday.

3.     But it is equally important, if you are a mother that you be an honorable mother!

A.     Considerations

1.      All mothers do some things that are not honorable; some make a career of it.

a.       We ought not honor, respect, or esteem those attitudes

b.      The Bible is really clear about this:

2.      Jacob’s mother taught him to be a con man; conniving and deceitful.

3.      Jezebel encouraged her son (Ahaziah) in wickedness  -2 Chron.22:3

4.      Herodias had daughter ask for John the Baptists head

5.      All mothers are not honorable, and the scars can last a lifetime.

6.      So how can a mother be honorable?

B.     Mothers are to be a preserver of life.

1.      God designed them to be this, Eve, the mother of all living.

a.       That’s why the horror of an Andrea Yates shocks us so.

2.      Israel was in Egypt, law to kill newborns, Moses’ mother protected him.

a.       The tragedy of abortion

3.      Solomon & two feuding moms.  The real mom shows true desire to preserve the life of the baby.

4.      You have the privilege of being a part of the miracle of life in conception and birth.

C.     Mothers are to cultivate faith in the hearts of your children

1.      2 Tim.1:5, Timothy’s faith which was first in his mother and grandmother

2.      Hannah –raised Samuel for 3 years then took him to Eli

a.       His sons turned out evil…difference?  They didn’t have the attention of Hannah the first 3 years of their lives.

b.      You cannot leave your children’s faith to chance.

3.      Foolish to “raise them neutral” and let them “choose for themselves”

a.       You don’t let them eat anything they want do you?  Health is at stake

b.      Play anywhere they want?  Watch anything they want?

c.       Why would you play spiritual Russian roulette with you kids?

d.      So many think being a great mom is being home-room mom and taxi service, making memories, etc.

e.       Do you neglect the spiritual life of your children?

4.      Live a life before them that reflects the reality of God in your life.

5.      Poem: When you thought I wasn’t looking:

 

When you thought I wasn't looking you hung my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn't looking you fed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, you baked a birthday cake just for me, and I knew that little things were special things.

When you thought I wasn't looking you said a prayer, and I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking you kissed me good-night, and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt--but that it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking you smiled, and it made me want to look that pretty, too.

When you thought I wasn't looking you cared, and I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking--I looked . . . and wanted to say thanks for all those things you did when you thought I wasn't looking

 

D.    Mothers Need to Give Good Advice

1.      Kids need good advice don’t they?  Especially teenagers!

2.      Prov.31:1

a.       The mother of King Lemuel’s advice to her son:

1)      Tells him of: wild women & substance abuse, king defend the defenseless, be gracious & non-judgmental to the little people, and 19 verses describing what an honorable wife would look like.

2)      Did you know that was a mother’s advice to her son?

3)      Some times they will listen better than at other times…

b.      Kid’s the advice should be listened to:

1)      Prov.1:8 says “do not forsake the law of your mother”

2)      Prov.23:22 “do not despise your mother when she is old”

3)      One discouraged mother wrote:

I gave you life, but I cannot live it for you

I can teach you things but I cannot make you learn

I can give you direction but I can’t lead you

I can allow freedom but I can’t account for it

I can buy you beautiful clothes but I cannot make you beautiful inside

I can give you love but I can’t force it on you

I can teach you to share but I can’t teach you to be unselfish

I can teach you respect but I can’t force you to show honor

I can teach you about friends but I can’t choose them for you

I can advise you about sex but I can’t keep you pure

I can warn you about drugs but I can’t prevent you from using them.

I can take you to church but I can’t make you believe

I can warn you about sin but I cannot make you moral

I can love you as my child but I cannot place you in God’s family

3.      Mom’s make sure you tell them!

a.       If they walk away, you’re not eaten up with guilt!

4.     Conclusion:

A.     So the big picture is this:  Mom’s, show what it means to be honorable, by preserving life, cultivating faith, and giving godly advice.

B.     As for our job, we honor, respect, and esteem them.  Remember, they cannot give it to themselves, only you can give it to them.

Being a Real Man

Introduction: Titus 2:2, 6-8 (This passage speaks of God’s idea of a real man. This is a strong contrast with the modern concept promoted by the world. In this study we will explore God’s concept of what a man should be.)

    I. What Is Not Important:

       1. Physical Beauty1 Sam. 16:7 (God does not look on the outside like we do. He sees the inward beauty or lack thereof. We need to be the same.) Isa. 53:2 (Christ was not physically attractive, yet surely he was successful and pleasing to God.)

       2. Physical Strength1 Tim. 4:8, Gen. 6:4-5 (Bodily exercise has some value, but only little value. The world will tell you that you should bulk up if you are to be a real man. God speaks of an ancient race of giants, strong men, but they were wicked in God’s sight. Physical strength won’t make you pleasing to God.)

       3. Possessions And Achievements: Lk. 12:15, Rom. 8:6 (The world will tell you if you don’t have great possessions and achievements you aren’t much of a man. But Jesus teaches us our lives are not measured by how much we have. Furthermore, the Bible teaches us not to be carnally minded, or take too much concern for possessions.)

       4. Number Of Women You’ve Had: Prov. 6:24-29, Prov. 7:6-8, 21-27 (The world will tell you a real man has to "bag a lot of babes". Think of the disrespect inherent in such language. Is it really manly to have this kind of contempt to view women as a prize? God teaches you are a fool headed for death if you philander, especially after the loose kind of woman that is most likely to respond to your pursuits.)

    II. What Is Important:

       1. Being Submitted To God1 Cor. 11:3 (What is really important is spiritual strength. You must be submitted to God. This is an excellent opportunity for you to show your wife that you really believe in submission.)

       2. Industry1 Thes. 4:11-12, 1 Tim. 5:8, Eph. 6:5-9 (The Bible teaches you must work hard. It doesn’t matter to obtain a lot. What matters is that you work hard and honest.)

       3. Spiritual Possessions: Mt. 6:19-21 (God values those who amass great spiritual possessions, treasures in heaven.)

       4. Proper Relations With Women: 1 Tim. 5:1-2, Mt. 5:27-28 (The real measure of a man is not in how many women you can use, but in whether or not you are pious toward women. The Bible teaches us to behave in a holy manner toward women, not lustfully.)

          A. Girlfriend: 1 Cor. 9:27 (Paul said we must practice self control. If you are not married, to be a real man is to exercise self control toward your girlfriend.)

          B. Wife: 1 Pet. 3:7, Eph. 5:22-24 (If you are married, to be a real man you must be kind and gentle with your wife.)

          C. Mother: Prov. 6:20-21 (The real measure of a man is in how you treat your mother. You must treat her with respect. This is how you are treat all the older ladies in God’s family.)

Conclusion: (God’s idea and the world’s idea of a real man are very different. As men, you must dismiss the evil notions of the world and aspire to be what God wants you to be. As women, you must forget trying to find a husband or reshape your husband into the world’s idea. You must accept and encourage God’s idea of a real man.)

Being a Real Woman

Introduction: Titus 2:2, 6-8 (This passage speaks of God’s idea of a real woman. Contrast this with modern concept and you will see a real difference. In this study we will explore God’s concept of what a woman should be.)

    I. What Is Not Important: (Follows are some things the world will tell you are very important to being a real woman. We will learn from the scriptures these traits are not always favorable in the sight of God.)

       1. Physical Beauty1 Pet. 3:1-4 (The world would have you to believe you need physical beauty to get by in life. It will also encourage you to use your physical charm to get what you want in life. This passage speaks of how a woman can influence her husband in a favorable way. Notice it emphasizes good behavior and quality of character as opposed to physical beauty. To give attention to your appearance is fine. Your husband is sure to appreciate such efforts on your part. However, such beauty is fleeting and vain. Your real emphasis must be on godliness.)

       2. Independence1 Cor. 11:3, 1 Tim. 5:14 (The world will tell you that you must maintain your independence. In some situations you may be made to feel inferior if you do not "take charge and be in control of your life". These verses teach there are certain rolls a woman must take in the family that require her, like the man, to set aside personal independence and serve the family.)

       3. Being Bold And Assertive: Prov. 27:15, Prov. 21:9 (The world promotes the idea you must be bold, brazen and assert yourself. The Bible teaches the idea of being contentious and always demanding your way are not favorable traits in the sight of God.)

       4. How Handsome A Man She Can Obtain1 Kings 11:1f (The world would have you to believe the measure of a woman is found in whether or not she can snare a wealthy and handsome man. If one’s ability to catch an attractive mate were God’s idea of good, Solomon should have been great. But his obtaining many beautiful wives was part of his downfall.)

    II. What Is Important:

       1. Inward Beauty1 Pet. 3:1-6 (God insists that having inward beauty, a meek and quiet spirit, is what is valuable in his sight.)

       2. Submission: Eph. 5:22-24 (God insists being submissive to your husband is an important quality. Submission is not ugly. We all must submit to others at some time and in some way. Even Christ submitted to death. In this light you can see why submission is beautiful in the sight of God.)

       3. Keeper At Home: Titus 2:3-5, Prov. 31:13-16 (Having career skills and opportunities can be good in certain situations, but you have a domestic responsibility to your family you must not neglect.)

       4. Making A Christian Home: Eph. 6:4 (God wants us to have homes that train our children to be godly.)

          A. Contrast Sarah And Job’s Wife: Job 2:9 (We’ve already noticed that Sarah was good to Abraham and they made their home a godly home. In contrast, Job’s wife advised Job to curse God. You will play an important and powerful roll in making your home a Christian home.)

          B. A Picture Of Motherhood: Jdgs. 5:7, 4:5, Ezek. 16:44 (Deborah was like a mother to the nation of Israel. Her influence was powerful and positive. People came to her for guidance. You can be like this in your home and your circle of influence. The proverb is true. Your children will tend to be like you. Will that be good or bad in the sight of God?)

Conclusion: (God’s idea and the world’s idea of a real woman are very different. As women, you must dismiss the evil notions of the world and aspire to be what God wants you to be. As men, you must forget trying to find a wife or reshape your wife into the world’s idea. You must accept and encourage God’s idea of a real woman.)

Building a Godly Home

Introduction: 1 Cor. 6:20 (Because we are bought and paid for by God, every area of our lives must glorify him. The family is included in this principle. You have a responsibility to construct a family that will glorify God and fulfill his purpose. This study speaks to those that are already married by encouraging us to be the right kind of spouse. It especially speaks to the unmarried in encouraging them to select an appropriate, godly mate. Rather than dealing with the question of marrying someone who is not a Christian, let us deal with the question of marrying someone who does not love God.)

Ask these questions:

    Will this person help me to be a better Christian?

    Will I help this person be a better Christian?

    Your children will probably be lost! Who will do something to change that fact?

    Will this person teach my children to fear God?

First, consider what kind of person you are bringing into the relationship. What kind of person are you? Then consider the kind of person you are marrying. Then consider what to do once you've gotten into a bad situation.

1. Be A Good Person: Mt. 7:3-5 (Before you spend too much time wondering what kind of person you are marrying, you need to think about the kind of person you are. Will you be an asset to the marriage?)

     A. Unselfish: 1 Cor. 7:32-34 (God admits that it is natural in marriage to seek to please your spouse. Will you be this kind of spouse or will you always think of yourself? Thinking of the other person means a commitment to make the marriage work. Do you have such a commitment?)

     B. God First: Mt. 6:33 (No matter what, God must be first in your life. Can you honestly tell your future spouse or spouse that you love God more than you will ever love them? If you cannot say this, you are an unfit candidate for marriage!)

     C. Guided By God's Law: Ps. 1:1 (Walk, stand, sit; These are all increasing levels of involvement. Are you letting God's word guide every area of your life? This is what it takes to make a marriage work.)

2. Find A Good Spouse: Prov. 12:4 (A good spouse can be a great blessing. A terrible spouse can destroy your marriage, your soul and your children’s souls.)

     A. God First: Lk. 12:52-53 (Your spouse should put God first, even before you.)

     B. Responsible: Eph. 5:23-25 (This and other passages outline the responsibilities of the husband and wife. Will you potential spouse fulfill these responsibilities? If they are not this kind of person now, why think they will be later?) Eph. 6:4 (This speaks of the responsibility of parents to teach their children. Will your future spouse do this? If they don't have time to study now, why think they will take time to study with your children later?)

     C. Solomon: 1 Kings 11:1-4 (Do you think you can take it? Do you think that you can be the exception and make a marriage with some ungodly fool work? Solomon was one of the wisest people that ever lived. He couldn't make it work. It took him down. Are you better than Solomon?

3. Lemonade Out Of Lemons: 1 Pet. 3:1-7 (You must do your best to set a good example in the hopes that your spouse will become a Christian. You cannot manipulate your spouse. You cannot force them to do right. You can only do right yourself and hope they will follow suit.) 1 Cor. 7:13-15 (God recognizes that sometimes a Christian may become involved with a person that is ungodly. In this situation the Christian is bound to do their part in making the marriage work. If the unbeliever is not content to dwell, the Christian is no longer under bondage to that marriage.)

Conclusion: (In light of the seriousness of marriage and children, why on earth would you want to marry anyone but a person who is totally devoted to God? Why? Remember: If for some reason your spouse turns against God. Though your marriage may fail, you can be a success if you follow God's commands regarding your role in the marriage and in doing all you can to make the marriage work.)

Children in the Stronghold of Satan

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:1-5

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:5,6

1. Introduction:

A. Hannah -how a child was considered the blessing of the Lord.

B. "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." Psalms 127:3

C. Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays illustrate the great joy that children & grandchildren provide.

D. In a study of proverbs, there are over 50 references to children & parents

E. "Sex education" in our schools is mainly aimed at teaching how to avoid having children while engaging in the act that God designed to produce children.

F. Abortion on demand is legal for the express purpose keeping someone from having a child.

G. Free birth control devices and medication is given out in our public schools and clinics.

H. Your "female doctor" was very likely educated out of the standard text which expresses the goal of female reproductive healthcare as: "Controlling human fertility . . . by birth control, abortion and sterilization . . . people must come to want fewer children."

I. We are taught on public television, in pamphlets, by our schools that the earth is on the verge of overpopulation to the extent that we will destroy the globe if it is not stopped.

1. today, the planned parenthood clinics are full of people learning to avoid having children.

2. In the United states of America, the average number of children per family is now 1.7.

3. If it were not for immigration, our population would actually be declining.

2. How Satan Has Built Strongholds That Harm Our Families

A. In the garden of Eden, Satan's stronghold was a lie that he told, which, when believed by Eve, drove her to blatant disregard for the commands of God and misery and suffering beyond her comprehension.

1. Genesis 3:1-6

2. 1 Timothy 2:14

B. Today, Satan works just as he did back then. He deceives. And any lie that he can convince God's people of will be a stronghold for his rebellion against God.

C. It is my contention that God teaches us something very different about our families and having children in particular, than what is commonly taught and believed in our nation today.

3. What Does God's Word Teach About Having Children?

A. Genesis 1:28 The Adamic covenant

1. Have dominion over the earth. (Is this still for us?)

2. Be fruitful and multiply! (Then what about this?)

3. Who will determine when the earth has been replenished?

4. This command was repeated in Genesis 9:1

B. Psalms 127:3-5 Children are the reward of God

C. 1 Timothy 4:15 God's will is for the younger women to marry and bear children.

4. What Are The Strongholds Of Satan Regarding Children?

In other words, "What lies has Satan convinced God fearing, Bible believing people of that would discourage them from responding to God's desires about having children?"

A. The earth is over populated as it is, if we don't limit the size of our family, the problem will get totally out of hand.

B. God said, as part of the Adamic covenant to "Be fruitful and multiply" Until when? "Replenish the earth"

1. Replenish (Hebrew #4390) "To wholly fill"

2. Taking an estimate of 6 billion people (which is too high)

3. Everyone on the face of the entire earth could stand inside the Dallas city limits with room to spare.

4. Everyone could live in ONE huge city the size of the bottom half of the state of Texas with the population density of the city of Tokyo.

5. The earth is no where near over population.

C. "Let's wait to have Kids" Comes in several forms.

1. Wait until we can afford them. (i.e. give them the possessions that most of their peers will have.)

2. God commands us to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)

a. Part of that includes teaching them to be content with merely food and clothes. 1 Timothy 6:8

b. The "Hard times" usually will be fondly remembered as the "Good times".

c. Life does not consist of what we possess. (Luke 12:15)

3. "We're too young"

4. Psalms 127:3 "Youth" (Hebrews #5271) Youth, juvenility, childhood, adolescence. Proverbs 5:18

5. "We want to enjoy life with just each other"

6. Psalms 127:3 Kids are a blessing, and if raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, only increase your enjoyment of life and each other.

D. "Women can't be fulfilled without a career."

E. God designed a specific career for them. 1 Timothy 4:15 "Guide the house"

1. Titus 2:4,5 "Worker at home"

2. The virtuous woman did buy a field and work it, she did make and sell fabric Proverbs 31:10-31

F. A woman should have the right to do what she wants with her own body.

1. It's a fetus, merely tissue, not a child

G. This is not what God says.

1. God has given commands that restrict her use of her lips (Lies), her brain (hatred), her digestive system (Drunkenness, gluttony), etc. It is not unreasonable that God would guide her use of her reproductive organs as well.

2. He has commanded that the younger women marry, and bear children. (1 Timothy 4:15)

3. It is a baby, not an "Unviable tissue mass" in the woman's body (Job.10:18,19; Exodus 21:22,23)

H. You must plan exactly how many kids you will have and when (Planned parenthood).

1. "Our goal must be to make every child a planned and wanted child" Joycelyn Elders, Surgeon General of the United States, 1993.

2. This is disguised language to mean that abortion, and birth control should be available to everyone, at any age, at any time, at no cost.

a. Birth control pills, many, if not all birth control pills cause spontaneous abortion of a fertilized egg (a child), on average one every three years. Homework on Birth control.

I. God is perfectly able to plan that part of your life.

1. If only planned and wanted children were born, I would not be here (My family would only have 2 kids).

2. Many of you, or your children would not be alive.

3. If Mary could have chosen I am sure, prior to the fact, that she would have not chosen to be expectant out of wedlock.

J. One last thought, many say "Well, It's too late for me to have a(nother) child, I'm already in my 30's."

K. 1 Timothy 4:15 "Younger women" = "Under 60" (VS.9)

5. Branches That Have Their Root In Not Loving Children

A. Abortion

B. Having baby-sitter’s raise your kids

C. Homosexuality

D. Mutilation of the Sex organs (Sterilization)

E. Divorce

F. Child abuse

G. Fornication

H. Sexual Perversion of all kinds

I. Pornography

J. harmful/ sinful birth-control methods

K. Radical Feminism

6. Conclusion:

A. Jesus Loved children and taught his followers to become like them in purity and humility.

B. God desires to raise up many Godly Children to Love and serve Him.

1. One way God defeats his enemies is through the raising up of Godly children. (Psalms 8:2)

2. We have strength in our own godly children (Psalms 127:3-5) Quiver full of them.

C. Satan has always desired to destroy the righteous, and one way of doing that is to convince them not to rear godly children.

D. Don't believe any of Satan's lies, but rather, ask God "What does the Word teach that your will is in our having a family?" And follow whatever you find in that word.

Choices

1) INTRODUCTION:

 A)    Choices are a part of our everyday life.  Some are more monumental than 
        others, but regardless of how big or small the choice is, the fact is that we 
 
       are faced with them on a daily, regular basis. 


 B)    In this study we want to look at choices that people have made and see
        what role they play in spiritual life.

2) CHOICE OF DISCIPLESHIP:

A)    The Rich Young Ruler.  Mk 10:17-22.
        1.    The Rich Young Ruler chooses his riches more than eternal life.  Mt 16:24-26.
        2.    We must choose to deny our self and follow Christ
B)    The Wedding Feast.  Lk 14:15-20.
        1.    Something was more important to them than the invitation.
        2.    We face a choice of which one is going to be more important.
        3.    Will we bear our cross, and Choose Jesus?
C)    Moses. Heb 11:24-25.
        1.    Moses choose to suffer with the people of God.
        2.    Paul tells us in 2 Tim 3:12 "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
               suffer persection.
"
        3.    Do we choose to suffer?  To live daily for Christ and bear our cross?
D)    Mary.  Lk. 10:38-42.
        1.    Mary chose sit at the feet of Jesus and learn.
        2.    Do we choose this or do we spend our time doing other things.
E)    Serving God is a choice we make, not something that just happens.
        1.    Mt 5:14  We should be "the light of the world." Do you dim your light
               so that you won't stand out.
        2.    Mt 6:24  Our choice must be clear.  We can't serve two masters.
        3.    Heb. 4:12-13  You can go thru the motions and fool even youself,
               but you can NEVER fool God.

3) CHOICE OF SALVATION:

A)    Josh 24:15.  The same choice that Joshua gave to the people of his time, 
       is the same choice you must face.
        1.    We must choose who we will serve.
B)    Look at 1 Kg 18:21.  Elijah presented the situation as a choice,
       not a feeling.
        1.    If The Lord is God, then follow him.
C)    Pr. 1:28-31.  Those that do not choose the fear of the Lord will receive their
       just reward.
D)    2 Thess 1:7-9.  Those who choose to obey the gospel will have rest.
        1.    Those who choose other-wise will face the wrath of God.

4) CLOSE:

A)    One Last Example:  The Crowd.  Mt. 27:15-21.
        1.    Many people today who have made the same choice as this crowd
        2.    They choose something or someone else over Jesus.
B)    Rm 6:16.  The choice that every person faces is the choice between serving
       God and serving sin.
C)    Which will you choose today?

Christ: The Character Of Good Leadership

Introduction: Rom. 2:4 (The goodness of God and Christ leads us. Christ is our leader. He so perfectly embodies every aspect of God's idea of good leadership that he truly is the character of good leadership. Studying this will reveal the direction Christ leads us. It will also guide us in how we fulfill our respective rolls as leaders; elders, husbands, parents, Christian example, civic leaders, etc.)

I. Good Leadership Defined:

     1. Reputation1 Tim. 3:7 (The fact that God requires elders to have a good reputation shows that real leadership is born out of reputation.)

     2. Moral Standards1 Tim. 3:2 (God requires leaders to live by exemplary moral standards. A good reputation is built by living good standards.)

     3. Not By Force1 Pet. 5:1-3 (God forbids elders to lead by force. Good leadership must be firm but doesn't have to force.)

     4. By Example1 Pet. 5:3 (God requires elders to lead by example. This is an essential component of good leadership.)

     5. Sacrificial Love: Jn. 15:13-14 (Christ connected his requirement we obey him, follow his leadership, to the fact that he has a self sacrificing love for us. True leadership involves this kind of love for the people and the cause being led.)

     6. For The Good Of Others: Heb. 13:17 (Godly elders lead the flock out of concern for the souls.) Phil. 2:4 (God expects us to think of the good of others, not ourselves. An essential characteristic of good leadership is to fulfill that position for the good of others.)

II. Man's Failure:

     1. Bad Name1 Sam. 18:7-8 (Saul exemplifies man's failure. Trying to lead with a failing or bad reputation does not work.)

     2. Loose Morals: Jer. 23:1-2, 9-11 (The leaders of God's people in old times failed because they were grossly immoral. Though some may try, good leadership cannot exist simultaneously with corrupt morals.)

     3. My Way Or The Highway: Titus 1:7 (Elders must not be self willed. Some try to lead while insisting they get their own way. Good leadership cannot have the attitude that everything must be done my way.)

     4. Sit Back And Give Orders: Mt. 23:4 (Instead of leading by example, the Pharisees tried to sit back and give orders, never intending to do these things themselves. Real leader ship doesn't hide behind a rock at the bottom of a hill demanding others charge up. Real leadership leads the charge.)

     5. Selfish Interests3 Jn. :9 (Some, like Diotrephes, accept leadership for their own interests, to promote their own agendas. This is not godly leadership.)

     6. Good Of Self: Isa. 56:11 (Like many today, these shepherds of Israel sought leadership for their own good instead of the good of the people and the cause.)

III. Christ Personifies Good Leadership:

     1. Known As A Good Teacher: Jn. 3:1-2 (The fact that Christ was well known as a good teacher shows that his leadership grows out of the best reputation.)

     2. No Sin Or Guile1 Pet. 2:22, 1 Jn. 3:5 (Christ had no sin whatever. He was morally perfect. His leadership grows from his moral purity.)

     3. Compels, Won't Force: Mt. 23:37 (Christ wanted to lead Jerusalem as a hen gently leads her chicks, not by kicking them back into the nest. He doesn't force us to follow him. He compels us.)

     4. Left A Pattern Of Steps: 1 Pet. 2:21 (The leadership of Christ involves his example. He didn't stand at the hill of self denial and command us to trudge up alone. He is at the point! He led the charge when he walked up Calvary's hill!)

     5. Gave His Life: Eph. 5:23 (Christ's leadership over the church is founded in the fact that he has self sacrificing love for the church. It's easy to respect leadership like this.)

     6. Emptied Himself For Others: Phil. 2:5-8, 2 Cor. 8:9 (Christ's leadership is founded on the fact that he gave himself for the good of others.)

IV. Christ's Leadership Calls You To Follow:

     1. Calls Upon You To Listen1 Thes. 2:13

     2. Reminds You Of Your Sin: Isa. 53:6

     3. Calls You To Come Under His Wings: Mt. 11:28-30

     4. Calls You To Follow His Example: Jn. 8:12

     5. Calls You To Give Your Life1 Jn. 4:19, 1 Jn. 3:16

     6. Calls you To Empty Yourself For Him: Gal. 5:24

Christian Entertainment

  1. Introduction:
    1. So many of our songs, movies and other types of entertainment can be described accurately only as evil.
  2. God's Word Speaks To The Question Of Music.
    1. Ephesians 5:18,19 "...singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."
    2. Psalms 40:3 "And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God..."
    3. Colossians 3:16,17 "...singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord"
  3. Godly Music Effects Our Spirit.
    1. 1 Samuel 16:23
  4. Evil Music Notoriously Accompanies Sinful Practices.
    1. Exodus 32:17-19
  5. Some Tests Of Right Music:
    1. Test the Spirit (teachings) of the music.
      1. 1 John 4:1-3 Test the teachings
      2. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 Those who teach unwholesome words
      3. Comparisons of Good and Evil Music:
        1. Good Music:
          1. Speaks truth about life.
          2. Glorifies God and righteous living.
          3. Decries evil and unrighteous living.
        2. Evil Music:
          1. Speaks Lies about life.
          2. Glorifies rebellion and evil living.
          3. Mocks God and righteousness.
    2. Test the Fruit (Results) of the music.
      1. Matthew 7:16-20 "By their fruit ye shall know them."
      2. James 3:9-13 Search for consistency in the character of those involved.
      3. 1 Samuel 16:23 Do you see the distressing attitude in these people?
      4. Where to look for it's fruit:
        1. In the words & actions of the performers.
        2. In the words & actions of the DJs
        3. In the words & actions of the listeners.
        4. In the setting it is usually associated with.
        5. In the types of advertisements they carry. (This shows what type of people are associated with this type of music. For instance, do they regularly advertise drinking clubs and wet T-shirt contests?)
      5. What fruit to look for:
        1. Sensuality (lust, sex)
        2. Pride
        3. Rebellion
        4. Greed
        5. Bitterness
        6. Deceit
        7. Vulgarity (esp. in humor)
        8. Any unrighteous style of living
  6. Other Scriptural Considerations:
    1. Pleasure in the evil of others (which can be exhibited in a love of sinful music) is sinful.
      1. Romans 1:28-32 (N.B. 32)
    2. Fascination with stories of evil (which can be exhibited in a love of sinful music) is sinful.
      1. Ephesians 5:8-12
      2. Romans 16:19
    3. We are to separate ourselves from all which is not Godly in it's source and fruit.
      1. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
    4. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
      1. Romans 12:1,2
  7. Self-examination In Light Of These Biblical Principles.
    1. Do you enjoy music, TV shows, Movies, etc. that mock and scorn the Christian principles that you claim to hold dear?
    2. Do you justify unrighteous music with the excuse "I never listen to the words?" What does 1 John 4:1-3 say about that?
    3. Do the DJs on the radio stations you listen to take pleasure in vulgar jokes, & songs, or spending time discussing sex in a less than biblical perspective? (i.e. do they enjoy discussing lust, adultery, & fornication)
    4. What do you know about the lives of those who perform and listen to the music as a group of people? Are they generally rebellious? Lustful? Hateful? Covetously motivated? Do you wish to be associated with that type of person? Does Christ want you to be considered as that type of person by those who don't know you well?
    5. Do you ever lift up your voice in songs of praise and worship to God and Jesus? Privately? With other christians (outside of church?) Do you sing during the worship assembly?
    6. Do you condemn the "Heavy Metal" music of others while enjoying George Strait singing about the pleasures of adultery and drunkenness? (Romans 2:1-3)
    7. This is a question that no-one can decide for others (except parents for children.)
  8. What To Do If You Like Music Which Fails The Tests Of God's Purity?
    1. Repent of listening to it. (Acts 8)
    2. Get rid of all of your tapes, records, videos, etc. of that type of music.
    3. Ask God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9)
    4. Learn to hate evil (including music which doesn't agree with God's purposes and principles for your life.)

Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil:

 

 

 

Family Communication

Introduction: Mt. 7:12 (Often problems arise in relationships due to a lack of communication. Family relationships are no exception to this. Although the teaching set forth here will regulate communication in any context, it is specifically designed to speak to our families. The text sets forth a principle that should be followed in every area of our lives. But as it is applied to communication, you can see the basic premise underlying this study. Communicate with others the way you want them to communicate with you. For the purpose of this study, communication will be divided into four basic areas; listening, answering, speaking and resolution.)

I. Listening: To learn to be a good communicator, you must learn to be a good listener.

     1. Be A Ready Listener: Jas. 1:19 (Contrast being swift to hear with being slow to speak. To be a good listener, you must give more attention to listening than to speaking.)

     2. Look For Areas Where You May Be Wrong: Prov. 12:15 (If you fail to see that you are sometimes wrong, you are a fool!)

     3. Try To Understand The Other Person's Point Of View: Prov. 18:2, 15 (If you don't seek to understand others, you are a fool. It is wise to search for knowledge and understanding in what others are saying.)

     4. Seek The Interests Of Others: Phil. 2:3 (This teaches us to be unselfish. Being unselfish will reflect in the way you listen to others.) 1 Cor. 10:33 (Paul left this example for us.)

II. Answering: The next step to good communication is knowing how to answer what is said to you.

     1. Listen First: Prov. 18:13 (You must let the other person finish speaking before you can answer.)

     2. Think First: Prov. 15:28 (Give yourself time to study your answer before responding.) Prov. 29:20 (A hasty response is of no value and exposes you as a fool.)

     3. Don't Quarrel: Prov. 17:14 (It is possible to passionately disagree without fighting.) Prov. 20:3 (Pride makes us want to keep on fighting but true honor comes to the person who stops the fight. It's harder for a person to fight when their opponent refuses to engage. Unlike war, you can refuse to fight without surrendering.)

     4. Don't Shout: Eph. 4:31 (Clamoring means to shout. When you shout you are sinning!)

     5. Don't Use Profanity: Eph. 5:2-4 (Foolish talking, etc., has reference to profane language. This has no place in your communication.)

     6. Don't Seek Revenge With Your Words: Rom. 12:17, 21 (There is no place in the Christian heart for vengeance! When you respond to hurtful words with a desire to get revenge, you are sinning!)

     7. Use A Soft Answer: Prov. 15:1, Prov. 25:15 (A soft answer is more disarming than cruel words. A soft answer involves tone of voice and content.)

III. Speaking: Then you must learn to express your ideas an acceptable way.

     1. Tell The Truth: Rev. 21:8 (Dishonesty can cost you your soul! There is no place in communication for deceitfulness or dishonesty.)

     2. Speak It With Love: Eph. 4:15 (The truth alone it not enough. It must be said with love.) 1 Cor. 13:4-8 (Love will dictate many aspects of the way we speak.)

     3. Don't Tear Down: Eph. 4:29 (It is a sin to speak words for the purpose of tearing others down. If you live by the insult, you will die by the insult. If it is wrong to try to tear the other person down, how much more wrong is it to do this in the presence of others?)

     4. Don't Nag: Prov. 27:15 (Nagging makes it difficult it the other person to listen to you.)

IV. Settlement: Effective communication leads to a settlement of problems and differences. To effectively communicate you must learn to resolve problems, not just discuss them.

     1. Confess: Jas. 5:16 (As Christians, we are to confers our sins to another trusted Christian. When you wrong someone, you need to confess that wrong and seek their forgiveness.)

     2. Repent: II Cor. 7:10-11 (True repentance involves the fruit of a concentrated effort to change.)

     3. Forgive: Lk. 17:3 (When the offending person repents, you must forgive.) Prov. 17:9 (Once a matter is resolved and the offender has been forgiven, don't bring it up again.)

     

Foundations Of Fatherhood

Introduction: (More than ever, our families desperately need godly fathers. Children are crying for appropriate attention from Dad. Plenty of men are willing to sire children but not willing to work hard to be good fathers. You need to learn these foundation principles that will help you be a better father.)

I. Build A Good Relationship With Your Wife: (The first foundation of being a good father is building a godly relationship with your wife.)

     1. Presenting A United Parental Front: Mt. 12:25 (In dealing with the Jews, Jesus stated a principle that is true in all areas of life. A divided house cannot stand. As a father you must build a good relationship with your wife so you can present a united parental front.)  2. Making Her Job Easier: Eph. 5:25 (It is easier for a woman to accept her role as a wife and mother when the man properly fulfills his role. You must accept your self sacrificing role as leader of the family to make it possible for her to accept her role.)

II. Provide Spiritual Leadership: (Being head of the house involves embracing the responsibility of being spiritual leader in your home. This in no way minimizes the importance your wife has in affecting the spirituality of your home. It does emphasize you have a responsibility to take the lead.)

     1. Study The Bible: Ps. 1:1-2, 1 Tim. 4:13, 15 (You must study the scriptures for your own knowledge. You cannot teach your children if you don’t know the Bible yourself.)  2. Teach Your Children: Deut. 6:7-9, Eph. 6:4 (Teach your children constantly! How can you think you are a good Dad if you never teach your children the word of God.)
        A. Use Opportunities: Exo. 12:26-27 (God told Israel to use the occasions when their children quizzed them to teach. You must use every opportunity to teach your children God’s word.)

          B. Think Of The Future: Deut. 4:9-10 (Teach your children with thoughts of the future generations. What you teach them will directly effect what the next generation learns.)

      3. Show Correct Priorities: Mt. 10:37-39 (You must set the example before your children of the right priorities. Does your life show that God is first? That the church is important? Family?)

    III. Provide Moral Leadership: (Again, you must take the lead and set the moral tone of your home.)

       1. Setting A Good Example: Titus 2:6-7 (God tells us to be careful to show a pattern of good works. This involves laying down a consistently righteous example before our children. This is to be an example of doing good deeds as well as abstaining from evil deeds.)  2. What You Demand Of Your Children: Prov. 29:15 (It is your responsibility to make reasonable demands of your children. If you leave them to their own devices they will not blossom into something godly.)
       
        A. Rules: 1 Sam. 2:12-17, 22-25, 1 Sam. 3:13 (Eli’s sons were very evil. He rebuked them but he did not do enough to restrain them. We have to give our children rules and we have to enforce those rules.) 2 Sam. 13/Deut. 22:25-27, 2 Sam. 13:21 (David should have disciplined Amnon. According to the law, Amnon should have been killed. David was angry, but did not act. Other texts add that David would not have Amnon killed because he was first born.) B. Discipline: Prov. 13:24, Prov. 22:15, Prov. 23:13-14 (The scriptures plainly teach us to discipline our children. Be a man and accept this responsibility. Don’t let others stop you from administering measured, loving discipline.) C. See Their Faults: 2 Sam. 18:5, 33, 2 Sam. 19:1-6 (Absolom rebelled against David and intended to kill him. David still favored Absolom and wanted him spared. He was so caught up in this he appeared to care more for his enemies than for his friends. This refusal to see the error of his son did not help Absolom. As fathers we must be objective with our children and see their faults.)

    IV. Provide Financial Leadership: (Like in these other areas, you must set the pace of leadership.)

       1. Hard Work1 Tim. 5:8, Prov. 24:30-34 (The Lord teaches us to work hard to provide for our families. We must be especially diligent in light of the fact we are showing our children the work ethic.)  2. Thrift: Prov. 18:9 (Wastefulness is akin to laziness. You need to set an example before your children of being thrifty and not wasteful.) Prov. 13:22 (It is a godly pursuit to leave some inheritance for your children. While a child needs wisdom to properly use an inheritance [Prov. 20:21, Eccl. 7:11] it can be good. Preparing for such is a good show of thrift.)  3. Generosity: Prov. 3:9 (Set an example of generosity before your children. Give generously to the church and those in need. This will be leadership worth following.)

    V. Provide Emotional Leadership: (We might easily pass by this aspect of leadership, but it is important. We have allowed ourselves to think emotional sensitivity is contrary to the macho image. But we must not let worldly thinking poison our work as fathers. We must lead emotionally as well.)

       1. Be Stable: Jas. 1:8 (Instability is often rooted in double mindedness. Double mindedness will always cause instability. You must firmly fix yourself on serving God to give you the best opportunity to exhibit emotional stability. From this vantage point you can emotionally lead your children.) 2 Kings 17:41 (God’s people imitated the instability of previous generations. If you don’t get your feet planted firmly on the ground you cannot properly lead your family to be emotionally stable.)  2. Support Your Wife:

        A. Be Affectionate: Gen. 26:8 (This story gives a glimpse of Isaac being affectionate with Rebecca. This is part of the natural course of marriage. Tenderness and affection are important ways to show your wife your love and support. The sense of security this gives your home will help your children feel more emotionally secure.)
        B. Be Kind: Col. 3:12-13 (Kindness in your disposition towards her will also help enhance the emotional security of your home.)

       3. Support Your Children:


        A. Communicate: Prov. 18:2 (Listen! This passage speaks of the fool who only wants to express themselves, but has no interest in understanding what the other person has to say.)
        B. Give Constant Attention: Rom. 1:31 (The Bible condemns those who do not have natural family love. It is only natural to want to give your children love and attention. And children certainly need constant attention. So to do anything short of this is unspeakable. Fathers, what affection your daughters don’t receive from you they may seek in a misguided way when they are dating.) C. Don’t Overbear: Col. 3:21 (Paul warns us not to provoke our children. We can be overbearing and cause them to be broken spirited.)

    Conclusion: (Fatherhood is more important than you realize. It leaves a mark as deep as the soul. Don’t underestimate what you mean to your children and what a great impact you can have on their lives. Use these foundations of fatherhood and build a good home.)

    Four Foundations of a Good Marriage

    1. Your Marriage Must Be Focused On God:

      A. God must be first: Mt. 6:33 (even before your spouse) Lk. 14:26-33 (without this level of commitment you cannot be a disciple)

      B. All must be done for God: Col. 3:17, 23 (this translates into the way you serve your spouse, fixing a meal for him, repairing the home for her, etc.)

      C. All must be guided by God: 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (the Bible tells us all we need to know about being a good spouse) Mt. 4:4 (married life must be guided by God's word, not human philosophy)

    2. Your Marriage Should Be Permanent:

      A. This is God's original design: Mt. 19:4-6

      B. There are some exceptions to this: Mt. 19:9, Mt. 5:32 (in the case of fornication the marriage bond may be dissolved and renewed with another partner) 1 Cor. 7:12-15 (if an unbelieving spouse is not content to dwell the believer is free from the bonds of that marriage)

      C. Divorce that is legal [by God's law] is not always right: Deut. 24:1-4 (the law of Moses allowed for "trivial" divorce) Mal. 2:13-16 (however these Jews were condemned for such divorces even though they were technically legal; God wants marriages to last)

    3. Your Marriage Must Be A Blessing:

      A. A blessing to you: Prov. 19:14, Prov. 18:22 (a good spouse is a great blessing) Prov. 12:4 (but a bid spouse can destroy your life; generally, marriage will make or break you) 1 Pet. 3:1 (ideally the good spouse can influence the family to salvation; who you marry can determine your salvation and that of your children)

      B. A blessing to the church: Rom. 16:3-4 (this family had helped the church-in many areas; when asked to name the most influential individual in the church, many named couples, not individuals) 

      C. A blessing to the world: Mt. 5:13-16, Titus 2:4-5 (your family will either reproach or revive the church; you will either be a light that influences others to good or a shame the causes others to hate the church)

    4. Your Marriage Must Be Entered Properly:

      A. With the right person: I Cor. 15:33 (your choice of a spouse will influence countless souls; yours, your children and others your marriage might influence to good or bad; your choice should be based on quality, not "falling in love")

      B. Separate from your parents: Eph. 5:31 (you must break your dependence and not expect parents to bail you out)

      C. For the glory of God: I Cor. 6:20 (not what marriage can do for you but what your marriage can do for God)

    God wants your Home

    Introduction: Mt. 4:4 (Jesus said that man must live by the word of God. God wants every aspect of our lives to be controlled by his word. This includes your home. Too many homes today are controlled by the Devil. It is high time we yield our homes to God. God wants to control your home. God wants your home!)

    1. Focused On God: Mt. 6:33 (God demands to be number one in your life. This priority should be reflected in every area of your life. It should especially show in your home. Every area of your family life must place God first and as such submit to his will.) Lk. 14:26-33 (God demands the kind of discipleship that yields all to him.)

    2. A Blessing: God wants your home to be a blessing.

       To You: Prov. 19:14, Prov. 12:4 (A good spouse can be the best thing that ever happened to you or it can be your biggest disaster.)

       To The Church: Rom. 16:3-4 (Priscilla and Aquilla as a family were a great influence on the church of their day.)

       To The World: Mt. 5:16 (God wants your home to be a positive influence to the world.)

    3. Husband As A Leader: Eph. 5:23 (God demands that the husband be the leader of the family.)

    4. Wife As A Guide: Eph. 5:33, 1 Tim. 5:14 (While the woman is to submit to the husband's leadership she does have authority to guide the home.)

    5. Love In Your Home: Eph. 5:25-28, Titus 2:4 (God demands that husband and wife love one another. Love is not an option.) 1 Jn. 3:18 (Love is action and attitude, not a feeling.) 1 Cor. 13:4-8 (Illustrate the specific ways that love effects every area of the marriage relationship.)

    How to be Content

    1. Introduction:  Philippians 4:11

      A. Many times our favorite topics at parties, Bible studies, dinners, or any other time you get together with friends and/or family are our problems. How often have you heard (or participated in) the following conversation?

        Person 1: How was work today?

        Person 2: Oh, the same old grind, I just don't know how much longer I'll be able to put up with it. It just seems to be getting worse.

        Person 1: Yeah, I know what you mean, would you believe that they are only giving us two days off for Christmas?And don't even ask me about our Christmas bonus.

        Person 2: Christmas bonus, what Christmas bonus, those tightwads wouldn't even think of giving us a bonus, Of course they are taking a full week off but what can us little guys expect. You only exist so that they can make the real profit.

        Person 1: Well, if I could just get a transfer to a new department, then I wouldn't have to work with all those incompetents but as it is now, I do all my work and theirs too!And then come time for evaluation and they get better raises than I do!

        Person 2: Well I just want another job altogether, I just hate working where I do, no-one is really friendly, the pay is lousy, and they always make me do things their way which I know slows me down, and I get no respect or thanks for it when I get a job done.

      B. Are you content with your life?What about your job?Your finances?Your health?Or. . .

        1. Do you gripe and complain about all the things that are not `right' in your life?

        2. Are you discouraged because it seem that things just aren't working out the way you wanted?

        3. Does it ruin your day if something you had planned and really looked forward to falls through?

        4. Do little irritations nag at you until they cause your attitude to sour and take the joy out of your life?

        5. Does extra, unplanned, and urgent work or hassle get your goat and make you into a bear?Do you walk around as a roaring lion seeking whom you may devour?

        6. If any of this sounds familiar, this sermon is for you. I wish to talk about contentment.

      C. Contentment = Being satisfied with life, the absence of dissatisfaction.

        1. It is the natural enemy of jealousy, envy, greed, covetousness, selfishness, and discouragement.

      D. Two Frogs fell into a pail of milk

        1. One got discouraged and croaked

        2. The other thought, I may go down, but I'm going down fighting, and he kicked, and he kicked, and the next morning, they found him sitting on a pad of butter.

      E. I suggest to you this morning two things:

        1. That Christians have the greatest reasons in the world to be content and satisfied with their lives.

        2. Discontentment, griping, whining, bellyaching, murmuring, etc. are sinful.

    2. How some in scripture handled trouble and/or problems

      A. How Paul Handled Trouble:

        1. 2 Cor. 11:23-33 If anyone had trouble, it was Paul, but did he gripe & complain?

        2. Phs. 4:11-13 No. He learned to be content in every situation.

          a. Acts 16:22-25 Paul even sang in prison

          b. Notice that contentment was something Paul learned. It was not natural, it is learned.

          c. You all choose to be Glass half full or glass half empty types of people.

      B. How the Israelites handled trouble

        1. 1 Cor. 10:1-10 They murmured and many of them died for it.

        2. This is our example that we should not murmur. God hates murmuring.

    3. Some Reasons You Might Get Discouraged And Not Be Content In Life:

      A. You forget that you belong to God and that He has promised to design all things for your good.

        1. 1 Peter 1:18,19 He purchased you with the Blood of Jesus

        2. Rom. 8:28 All for good

        3. When you do that, you end up looking at the trouble instead of at God

          a. Num. 14:6-9 Joshua & Caleb saw the Giants, but they also saw God

      B. You lose sight of the goal (some don’t even know the goal) ??? to be like Jesus

        1. Rom. 8:29 To be like Christ

          a. He ordained that you would be like his son. That is how all things work together for good.

          b. Not that only good things would happen to you, but that in the end, you would come out of life thinking, talking, and acting like Jesus.

      C. You forget that God has promised to test your faith.

        1. 1 Pt. 4:12,13 Rejoice in the fiery trial

      D. You may have a covetous heart

        1. 1 Tim. 6:8 Be satisfied with food & clothes

        2. Heb. 13:5 Be content with what you have

        3. Your heart should be filled with gratefulness

          a. 1 Thess. 5:18 Always give thanks

        4. Avoid the sin of self-pity

          a. Rom. 12:1 Living sacrifice

          b. You are to live as a servant of God and others, not of yourself

    1. Conclusion:

      A. God has always hated that people complain and whine when they don't have or get what they want or think they deserved.

      B. His desire is for us to be content in any situation that you face. Phs. 4:11

      C. This morning I call on you to chose to be the second frog.

      D. Don't allow discouragement to get hold of you, but instead, look to Jesus.

      E. Your problems may be big, but God is bigger and He could stop them if He wanted.

      F. If they don't stop, that is because God is using them to develop in you some part of the Character of Jesus.

      G. Learn to trust God, He is good, He loves you, He is all powerful, nothing ever gets out of His control, and He has promised that all things will/do work together for good in your life.

      H. Your part is to trust God, and live your life in service to Him so that you may have His promises.

        1. Know that you belong to God

        2. Remember that He loves you

        3. Accept that this is for your own good

        4. Embrace the irritation/problem & rejoice

        5. Try to learn what you need to learn

        6. Guard your heart against covetousness

        7. Learn gratefulness

        8. Never, Never, Never indulge in self-pity

        9. Trust in the promise of God, don't embarrass Him by proclaiming your distrust by discouragement, hostility, etc.

     

    Influence

    1) INTRODUCTION:

    A) Mt 5:13-16 -  In most cases, the greatest power we can have over another is influence - salt & light. But we need to know that our influence can be either good or bad!
    B) 1 Tim 4:12 - the great thing about our influence is that we get to choose what kind of influence we are going to have.  What makes your influence the most powerful is:
        1)  CONSISTENCY!  When people around you know what you are going to do every time!!!
        2) CLARITY - When people can see/hear what you are going to do.

    2) GOOD OR BAD INFLUENCE:

    A) Good Examples:
        1) Acts 9:36-39 - Dorcus's influence was so great that people were greatly moved by her death.
        2) 2 Cor 9:22 - the willingness to help of those in Corinth was an influencing factor in the zeal that was brought by others.
        3) 1 Cor 7:16 - In admonition to not leave an unbelieving spouse, Paul informs us that how we lead our life could be an influencing factor in the salvation of others.
        4) Joshua 24:31 - Joshua's life influence was such that it caused a whole nation to follow God.

    B) Bad Examples:
        1) 2 Kings 21:1-9 - Manasseh's influence was such that it did just the opposite of Joshua's.
        2) 1 Kings 11:1-4 - Solomon made a bad choice and allowed those around him to influence him to turn away from God.
        3) Mt 23:13 - The Pharisees caused many Jews to fall away.
        4) Eccl 9:18  -It doesn't take a lot to destroy.  Your influence can destroy those around you.

    C) How do I know what kind of Influence I have?
        1) What kind of fruit do you bear (Jn 15:8).
        2) What kind of friends do you have ( 1 Cor 15:33) - what type of people desire to be around you.
        3) How do others speak of you (1 Tim 5:24-25) - your reputation is created by the influence you have.

    3) HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR INFLUENCE:
     

    A) CONSISTENT LIFE - Rm 12:1-2. When we sometimes live as a sacrifice and sometimes live in the world, we paint a confused picture.  Phil 1:27 - our life should be so consistent  that no matter who is or is not around, we are going to live the same way.
    B) CLARITY OF LIFE - Our life's message to the world doesn't not need to be confused with wavering back and forth.  Rather it should stand with the clear message of the Bible.  Eph 4:14-15. For this to happen we must grow.  Grow so that others see the life of Christ in us (1 Cor 11:1)

    4) CONCLUSION:

    A) God has a purpose for your life - Eph 2:10; 1 Pet 2:12 - you influence can either hinder or help!
    B) Heb 11:4 - your influence will last longer than your life (children, family, friends, etc.)  How will you use this influence?

    Respect and Disrespect

    Introduction: (The scriptures teach us to treat others with respect. Mankind has always failed at this to one degree or another. In this study we will define respect and examine specific areas where we often fail to respect. We will also look at root problems that contribute to a lack of respect and at the fruit of respectful treatment of others.)

      1. The Wrong Kind Of Respect: (There are certain kinds of respect that are not right. Follows are a couple of examples. These examples show the appropriate kind of respect is treating others with kindness and dignity.)

         1. Honor For The Undeserving: Prov. 26:1, 8 (While everybody should be treated with respect or kindness, there are some who do not deserve honor or admiration. Though we should treat such a person with respect, we should not exalt them or their foolish ways.)

         2. Lip Service: Mt. 15:8 (Respect that is mere shallow lip service is wrong. It is good to say positive, flattering things to others, but never as an insincere lip service.)

      2. Respect To God: (First and foremost, we must have respect for God. This is of primary importance because our respect for him leads us to respect others.)

         1. Honor Is Due Him: Ps. 29:2 (We respect God and give him honor simply because he deserves it.)

         2. Honor With Substance: Prov. 3:9 (We honor God, not just with words, but with our substance. This shows respect involves how we treat God.)

         3. Honor Jesus: Jn. 5:23 (We honor God by following Jesus. If you are not a disciple of Jesus you are not honoring him, and therefore are not honoring God.)

      3. Respect To Fellow Christians: 1 Tim. 5:1-2 (This passage speaks of how we should treat fellow Christians with dignity and respect. It addresses specific relationships and how we should behave in them.)

         1. Intreat: (To intreat means to plead, almost beg. This is how we should treat men older than us, especially elders.)

         2. Mothers: (We should treat the older women in the church with a motherly respect.)

         3. Brothers And Sisters: (We should treat the younger in the church with a sense of purity, like we would toward siblings in the flesh.)

         

      4. Respect To Spouse: (We must respect each other in the home. Perhaps our children sometimes fail to learn respect because they don’t see it demonstrated at home.)

         1. Wives1 Pet. 3:7 (The scriptures teach husbands to give honor and respect to our wives. Do we treat her like a person or a slave? Do we do the little things to show her we care? Do we show our respect for her by providing the manly leadership she deserves?)

         2. Husbands: Eph. 5:33 (The scriptures teach wives to revere their husbands. Do you insult him or ridicule him? Do you rebel against his leadership? Would you call him sir or lord? Why not?)

      5. Respect To Parents: Prov. 30:17, Eph. 6:1-2 (The scriptures are plain that children must treat parents with respect. Do you respect your parents? Do you obey them? Do you sass them or cuss them?)

      6. Respect To The Aged: (This kind of respect seems especially absent today. Many generations have complained the young did not respect their aged. This seems to be a common problem of the youth throughout man’s history.)

         1. Taught To Respect: Lev. 19:32 (Moses’ law reflected this timeless principle by commanding Israel to respect the aged.)

         2. Aged Parents: Prov. 23:22 (Wisdom demands we especially honor our aged parents. Our children may be watching to see how they should treat us when we are old.)

         3. Courtesy: Job 32:4 (Respect for the aged is expressed in such simple courtesies as waiting for them to speak before speaking.)

      7.  The Root: (There are root problems behind the issue of disrespect. Follows are two that seem to be common. The root of appropriate respect for others is love.)

         1. Hate: Gen. 37:4 (These men did not treat their brother with respect or kindness because of their hateful attitude toward him.) Mt. 12:34-36 (The hateful things we say to others in disrespect come from a hateful heart. We will be judged by these idle words or conversations.)

         2. Pride: Isa. 3:5 (Here disrespectful behavior toward the aged is characterized as behaving proudly. This shows pride is often at the root of disrespect.)

         3. Love1 Cor. 13:4-8a (If we have love for others it will show in the way we treat them.)

      8.  The Fruit: Prov. 15:13 (This passage shows the root of cheerfulness and respect toward others is a merry heart. The fruit of treating people with respect is happiness and the fruit of being hateful is a broken spirit. Show me a person who consistently treats others with disrespect and I’ll show you a miserable person.)

    Conclusion: 1 Sam. 2:30 (We must treat others with respect. It starts with honoring God and grows from there. The reward of disrespect is misery but the reward of proper respect is receiving honor and respect from God.)

    Responsibilities of Parents

    1. Parents Must Not Frustrate Their Children:

      A. Provoking to anger: Eph. 6:4 (this does not forbid any angering of the child because most any discipline or rule might make a child angry)

      B. Discouraging: Col. 3:21 (herein is the key, don't let the guidance be such that discourages the well meaning child; examples; being too dominant, rules with no purpose, parents who won't listen to genuine questions, etc.)

    2. Parents Must Train Their Children:

      A. Bringing them up in admonition: Eph. 6:4 (this involves teaching God's word to children)

      B. A planned effort: Prov. 22:6 (training implies a preplanned, determined effort; as a general rule this will not fail)

      C. Teach your children: Deut. 6:6-9 (your child's life should be filled with a study of God's word starting with short Bible stories as soon as they can understand what you are saying; gradually increase the length and intensity of your study as they grow and mature)

    3. Parents Must Discipline Their Children:

      A. Motivated by love: Prov. 13:24 (love motivated discipline is not abusive; it must be done early in life and swiftly)

      B. The child's soul is in danger: Prov. 23:13-14 (their should be a sense of urgency about your task) Prov. 19:18 (urgency, don't let the tears hinder you from your task)

      C. Don't let nature take its course: Prov. 29:15 (out with the idea of letting the "good person" in your child come out; man is sinful by nature, not good)

      D. Discipline works: Prov. 22:15, Heb. 12:5-11 (it yields peaceable fruits of righteousness)

    4. Parents Must Give Their Children Something worth Keeping:

      Prov. 1:8-9 (the best inheritance you can leave your children is unwavering faith in God and respect for his will) Eph. 6:l-3 (this respect is established by teaching them respectful obedience toward you)

    Responsibilities of the Husband

    1. The Husband Must Be The Leader Of The Family: Eph. 5:23

      A. Not a privilege but a responsibility: 1 Cor. 11:3 (God and Christ's Lordship involves responsibility as does the husbands)

      B. Not easy: (must make difficult decisions; financial, religious, etc. the wife should appreciate this)

      C. Lead the way Jesus leads: 1 Jn. 5:3 (Jesus is an easy Lord to follow because he gave so much and is not unreasonable, a fit example for husbands)

    2. The Husband Must Love His Wife: Eph. 5:25-31

      A. Action, not mere romance: 1 Jn. 3:18 (the emphasis of his love is in the way he treats his wife, not his emotions toward her)

      B. Love well described: 1 Cor. 13:4-8 (illustrate each characteristic of love in the context of a husband loving his wife)

      the loving husband is patient with his wife

      the loving husband does not envy his wife

      the loving husband does not brag or act proud

      the loving husband does not behave shamefully

      the loving husband is not selfish

      the loving husband is not quick tempered

      the loving husband does not contemplate evil

      the loving husband does not rejoice in sin

      the loving husband bears his due burden

      the loving husband is trusting

      the loving husband has hope for the relationship

      the loving husband is all-enduring

      the loving husband never lets his love die

    3. The Husband Must Provide:

      A. Failure: 1 Tim. 5:8 (one who does not provide is worse than an unbeliever)

      B. What to do: 2 Thes. 3:6-15 (one who fails in this duty is to be admonished and avoided) 

      C. The wife may assist the husband: Prov. 31:16, 18, 24 (the virtuous woman is seen as helping provide a living for her family; this is not required of her but it is permitted; the husband may assist the wife in her domestic duties unless it hinders him as a provider)

    4. The Husband Must Be Unselfish:

      A. Sex within the marriage is holy: Heb. 13:4 (God sanctions this holy union and has purposed it for the married persons pleasure)

      B. The husband must gratify his wife: 1 Cor. 7:1-4 (rendering due benevolence relates to the concept of providing physical pleasure)

      C. Sex must not be a weapon: 1 Cor. 7:5 (denying the spouse their due cannot yield good fruit; Satan will tempt in times of prolonged abstinence)

    Responsibilities of the Wife

    1. The Wife Must Guide The Home:

      A. Authority to guide: 1 Tim. 5:14 (the wife must have the freedom to make decisions in the realm of homemaking; she must be unencumbered by the husband)

      B. Older women should teach homemaking: Titus 2:4-5 (the woman's duty to the family is characterized by domestication)

      C. Helping the husband: (Note from Lesson #2, 3., C.: The wife may assist the husband: Prov. 31:16, 18, 24 [the virtuous woman is seen as helping provide a living for her family; this is not required of her but it is permitted] such help is not wrong unless it prevents her from performing her duties as a homemaker)

    2. The Wife Must Submit To Her Husband: Eph. 5:22

      A. Treating him with respect: Eph. 5:33 (the wife must treat the husband with reverence and respect, just as the christian respects Christ)

      B. Submission to promote godliness: 1 Pet. 3:1-6 (the woman's submission can persuade the husband to serve God)

      C. Submission is not ugly: 1 Pet. 5:5 (submission in one way or another is a big part of the christian life; Christ submitted to death, is this ugly?)

    3. The Wife Must Be Encouraging:

      A. Her original purpose: Gen. 2:18, 1 Cor. 11:9 (woman was originally created for the purpose of providing companionship for the man and fulfilling his needs)

      B. Not nagging: Prov. 27:15, Prov. 21:19 (if you discourage and fail to support your husband, he is better off without you)

      C. It can destroy him: Jdgs. 16:16 (Samson was so discouraged by Delilah he wanted to die; the woman holds a great power either for her husbands benefit or destruction) 

    4. The Wife Must Be Unselfish:

      A. The wife must gratify her husband: 1 Cor. 7:1-4 (rendering due benevolence relates to the concept of providing physical pleasure)

      B. Sex must not be a weapon: 1 Cor. 7:5 (denying the spouse their due cannot yield good fruit; Satan will tempt in times of prolonged abstinence)

      C. Compared to a water well: Prov. 5:15-23 (God's will is that the husbands sexual desire be satisfied by his wife rather than fornication; a man cannot drink water from his well if the well has run dry; be sensitive to your partner's needs)

    Settling Personal Differences

    Introduction: Mt. 5:23-24, Mt. 18:15-17 (Jesus taught that before you make your offering of service to God you need to settle differences with others. The Bible gives specific procedures for doing this. This lesson intends to explore the wrong way and the right way to settle personal differences.)

    What People Usually Do:

      1. Let It Boil, Bitterness Builds: Prov. 10:18 (Often when one has been offended and been asked regarding the offense they lie by saying nothing is wrong.) Jas. 3:14 (After brooding over the problem bitterness and hate builds. This is nothing to be proud of.)

      2. Tell Others: Ps. 101:5 (Such slander is a shame before God and those who do such will be cut off.) Prov. 11:9 (To slander a brother by gossiping behind their back rather than dealing with the problem is hypocrisy.) Prov. 15:22 (However it may be legitimate to discuss the situation with a third party to seek counsel on how to handle it.)

      3. "Air" It Publicly: Eph. 4:31-32 (Pitching fits is contrary to Christian behavior of kindness and tender heartedness.) 1 Cor. 6:1-8 (Law suits between Christians is another way some "air" it publicly and attempt to deal with problems. This too is unacceptable.) Jn. 13:34-35 (All should bear in mind that the love with which Christians face personal differences is a reflection of genuineness.)

    What People Should Do:

      1. Drop It: Mt. 5:25-26 (Jesus advised quick settlement of differences.) Prov. 17:9 (Sometimes a matter is trivial and a loving attitude allows one to drop it and never bring it up again nor dwell on it.)

      2. Resolve It: Lk. 17:3-4 (If the problem is serious it merits repentance and then forgiveness.) Mt. 18:15-17 (If the problem is serious it merits the steps outlined here.)

    Four Possible Outcomes:

      1. Active Resolution: The problem is confronted followed by repentance and possible restitution and all is forgiven.

      2. Passive Resolution: The offended party decides the matter is trivial and merits no further action. Based on Prov. 17:9 the matter is dropped and forgotten.

      3. Ambiguous Resolution: It is decided that there is no clear guilt or that guilt is shared. No further action is taken and based on Prov. 17:9 the matter is dropped and forgotten.

      4. Refusal: The offending party is obstinate and refuses to repent or seek forgiveness. The issue is taken to the next step outlined in Mt. 18:15-17.

     



     

    Problem

    Solution

    Offense

    Passive Resolution

     
    Private Confrontation

    Active Resolution
    Passive Resolution
    Ambiguous Resolution

     
    Semi-private Confrontation

    Active Resolution
    Passive Resolution
    Ambiguous Resolution

     
    Public Confrontation

    Active Resolution
    Passive Resolution
    Ambiguous Resolution

    Refusal

    Church Discipline

     

    The Closest Thing to Heaven or Hell

    1. Introduction:

    A. In America there is a 60% Divorce rate

    B. In Dallas, Texas there is a 103% Divorce rate

    1. 103 divorces for every 100 marriages.

    C. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16)

    D. There are many terrible marriages/homes.

    E. A good marriage is the closest thing there is to Heaven on earth, and a bad marriage is the closest thing there is to Hell on earth

    2. Basics About A Godly Home.

    A. God must be first in your life (Luke 14:26)

    1. A "Christian home" requires christians.

    B. The marriage must be the priority relationship of the parents. (Genesis 2:24)

    1. God put a man and wife in the garden, not a parent and child.

    2. Leave father and mother.

    a. Don't build your life around the kids.

    b. Let go when they marry. Don't interfere!

    c. Go to mate, not parents for encouragement, direction, and support (financial, etc.)

    d. Parents become counselor’s/advisors

    3. The Woman In The Godly Home:

    A. Her basic design was to be a helper to her husband (Genesis 2:18)

    B. God protected her with a structure of authority (1 Corinthians 11:3)

    C. Submission is a great responsibility (Ephesians 5:22-24)

    1. Genesis 3:16; 4:7 "Thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee..."

    2. Submission depends on authority, not character.

    3. Submission is only needed when there is a difference of opinion or judgment.

    a. When God says so, it doesn't matter what the authority says.

    b. When we agree authority doesn't matter.

    4. Biblical submission is voluntary.

    a. Military term indicating to enlist in the army (as opposed to being drafted).

    b. You voluntarily place yourself under the authority of military officers over you.

    5. His abuse of authority doesn't excuse your refusal to submit.

    6. If he isn't a Christian (1 Peter 3:1-4)

    D. Her purpose is also to bear children & "guide" the house (1 Timothy 5:14)

    1. She must be a teacher of good things to her daughters (Titus 2:3-5) and sons (2 Timothy 1:5)

    4. The Man In The Godly Home:

    A. Authority means responsibility and accountability.

    1. Dwell with her according to knowledge (1 Peter 3:7)

    a. Knowledge of her willful submission.

    b. She has voluntarily become the "weaker vessel" in authority.

    c. This directly affects your relationship with God "that your prayers be not hindered".

    2. Man's "headship" is by virtue of God's authority, not mental, physical or emotional superiority.

    a. This makes him accountable to God for the home he is head over.

    b. Her refusal to submit never justifies his abuse of authority.

    c. God holds her accountable to submit, & you accountable for the godly headship.

    3. Love is your responsibility (Ephesians 5:25-32)

    a. Do you love enough to die for? Do you love enough to live (i.e. take out trash) for?

    b. Christ lived for the church (Romans 5:10)

    4. The head must be the provider. (Ephesians 5:28,29)

    a. To nourish & Cherish means to tenderly care for, to provide for the needs of.

    b. We do that for our own bodies, nursing them back to health when injured, feeding them when hungry, etc.

    c. You must be as concerned about meeting your wife's needs as you are your own.

    d. Worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8)

    1. Unbelievers are called fools (Psalms 14:1) who will go to hell (Revelation 21:8)

    5. The Child In The Godly Home: (Ephesians 6:1-3)

    A. Rebellion a sin, not a stage.

    B. "In the Lord"

    C. Honor your parents.

    D. Choose a mate carefully - 1 Corinthians 7:39

    The Godly Wife in the Christian Home

    1. Introduction:


    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone;
    I will make him a helper comparable to him. (Gen.2:18)
    He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the LORD. (Pr.18:22)
    Who can find a virtuous wife? for her price is far above rubies. (Pr.31:10)


    2. The Wife In The Godly Home:


    A. God must be first in your life (Luke 14:26)

    1. He must be more important than your children or your husband.

    B. Your Husband must be second in your life. (Genesis 2:24)

    1. God put a man and wife in the garden, not a parent and child.
    2. Leave father and mother. Responsibilities for parents and kids
    3. Don't build your life around the kids.
    4. Go to husband, not parents for encouragement, direction, and support (financial & otherwise.)

    C. Your basic purpose is to be a helper to your husband (Genesis 2:18)

    1. This was the reason for your creation. Do not miss this or you will never be fulfilled as a woman.

    D. God protected you with a structure of authority (1 Cor.11:3)

    1. Submission is a great responsibility (Eph.5:22-24)
    2. Genesis 3:16; 4:7 "Thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee..."
    3. Submission is only needed when there is a difference of opinion or judgment.
    4. When God says so, it doesn't matter what the authority says.
    5. When we agree it won't matter who is the authority.
    6. In its essential element, Biblical submission is voluntary.
    7. Military term indicating to enlist in the army (as opposed to being drafted).
    8. You voluntarily place yourself under the authority of the military officers over you.
    9. Don't marry someone you won't submit to!
    10. If you don't voluntarily submit, you are disobeying God.
    11. His abuse of authority doesn't excuse your refusal to submit.
    12. Policeman who give a ticket and then disobeys law himself.
    13. Primarily, it is his job to determine the direction of the home, and yours to determine how we move in that direction.

    3. The Godly wife's job description.

    A. "Whoso finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the LORD." (Pr.18:22)
    B. The Christian woman (Titus 2:4,5)

    1. Love Husband (lit. A husband-lover) Philandros (Philandros) signifies the emotional, friendship type of love, affection.
    2. Discreet = Self-controlled.
    3. Chaste =innocent, morally pure
    4. Homemakers (Keepers at home - KJV) = Workers at home
    5. The home is the primary area of responsibility of the wife. She is to oversee (Pr.31:27) the functioning of the home.
    6. She does this under the oversight of her husband.
    7. Good = Kind
    8. Obedient to their own husbands = (Eph.5:22f)
    9. To keep God's word from being blasphemed (Spoken evil of)

    C. Like Sarah (1 Peter 3:1-6)

    1. Adorning the inner woman
    2. Not condemning outward adorning, (per virtuous woman) but focusing on priority of adornment.
    3. Proverbs 11:22 As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
    4. Don't argue with your husband about the modesty of your daughters clothes.
    5. Gentle and quiet = calm and peaceful, not flashing to anger or answering back
    6. Don't be a nag
    1) Proverbs 27:15,16 A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.
    7. Proverbs 19:13 ...the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping (Irritation).
    8. Proverbs 21:9 Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
    9. An unhappy wife is a public rebuke to her husband

    4. A Godly Mother

    I will that the younger women marry, bear children, and guide the house (1 Timothy 5:14)


    A. Timothy's mother...there was no-one in the early church like Timothy.
    B. Hannah & Samuel...she was the difference in him & Eli's sons.
    C. Choose a godly man to be the head of your home

    1. 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers"
    2. If you want your kids to be secure, LOVE THEIR FATHER!

    D. Don't take the kids side in matters of discipline

    1. Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
    2. Don't undermine the discipline in your home
    3. Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
    4. Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.
    5. Don't help them sneak around behind dad's back (Rebekah & Jacob)

    E. Don't show favoritism to the kids (Joseph & Brothers, Jacob & Esau)

    The Lions Had The Mastery Of Them

    Dan. 6:4-24 In this story the people who made the law against prayer had to die. But their children also had to die. This shows that children often suffer because of the behavior of their parents. Today the lion is Satan (I Pet. 5:8). And your children may suffer and fall prey to him because of your irresponsibility as a parent.

    Your Job:

       A. Discipline:

          1. Prov. 13:24 (Love motivates godly discipline and proper discipline is done early in life and swiftly.)

          2. Prov. 23:13-14 (Contrary to worldly wisdom, proper discipline will not hurt the child but rather save them.
              It is up to you to save your child from hell. Your child might grow up and go to hell because of you!)

          3. Prov. 29:15 (A home without discipline will produce children who cause shame and finally become sinful adults.)

          4. Prov. 19:18 (Don't let the child's begging and crying stop you from doing the job God gave you.
             "Tenderheartedness" is a feeble excuse to disobey God.)

          5. Heb. 12:5-11 (This principle is applied to families today. It yields peaceable fruits.)

       B. Teaching:

          1. Prov. 22:6 (Training involves consistent, planned effort.

          2. Eph. 6:4 (You must admonish your children in the ways of the Lord.)

          3. Deut. 6:7-9 (You must study the Bible with your children. When is the last time you studied the Word of God with
              your children?)

          4. Ps. 78:1-7 (It is critical that you teach your children that future generations will know and obey the Lord.)

       C. Example: Ezek. 16:44 (Never underestimate the power of your example as a parent. Illustrate, drinking at home,
           church attendance, priority, entertainment, language, treatment of your spouse, etc..)

       D. Conclusion: Will the lion have his way with your children?

     

     

    The Powerful Legacy of a Godly Family

    Mt.5:13-16

        1. Introduction:
            A.  Gen. 12:1-3  Terah - Abram - Isaac - Jacob/Israel - Chosen people of God.
                1. This is a tremendous example of the influence one family can have on the world.
                2. Through this family that God brought salvation in His Son to us
                3. Today, important political events are shaped, by the existence of this nation (people/ family).
            B. Many (If not most) nations have a “significant family” that plays a key role in that nation.
                1.  In America, we currently have the Bush family.  Vice President 8 years, President 4 years,
                    a. Governors of Florida and Texas, and possible another presidential term.
                2. In the last generation it was the Kennedy family.
            C. Many of our congregations are what we often call “family churches”
                1. They are largely built around one or two “core” families and their friends and relatives.
            D. Even among the Lord’s Apostle’s.  When Jesus chose only 12, two sets of brothers were included.
                1. Andrew & Peter
                2. James & John

        2. Three areas of Influence of a Godly family:
            A. Generational – your children, grand children, great…, etc. – (2 Tim.1:5)
                1. Your children will learn from you.  2 Kings 17:41; Ex.34:7
                2. A magazine gave some interesting stats of two families that once lived in the state of New York.
           
                 One man, Max Jukes, did not believe in religion and married a girl of the same opinion.  From this union came 1,026 descendants.  Studies showed that 300 died prematurely; 100 were sent to the penitentiary; 190 sold themselves to vice; 100 were drunkards,; and the family cost the state of New York $1,100,00.00!

                Another man, Jonathan Edwards, believed in God and in his Christian training and married a girl of like character.  From that union 729 descendants were studied and they discovered that 300 were preachers, 65 were college professors, 13 were university presidents; 6 authors; 3 U.S. Congressmen and 1 was vice president of the United States.

           
        B. Personal – your other family & friends  (Acts 10:24)
                1. Ungodly friends can destroy a family  1 Cor.15:33
            C. Inspirational – Other’s outside your circle of immediate contacts  (Josh.24:31)

        3. What is a Godly family?
            A. It should begin with a godly man  Eph.6:4
                1. This may not be a possibility in your home (death, divorce, or ungodliness)
            B. It includes a godly woman  1 Tim.5:14
                1. This may not be a possibility in your home (death, divorce, or ungodliness)
            C. It is guided by a godly purpose  Mt.6:33; Lk.14:26
            D. They must be people of godly character  Pr.31:10
            E. It is not just “leadership” in the local church that makes a godly home.  1 Sam.8:1-3
                1. David, Eli, Samuel, and others were godly men who were failure’s as fathers.

        4. The Shameful Legacy of an Ungodly Family
            A. The sorrow of lost and ungodly children  Pr.17:25
            B. The emptiness of wasted lives  Lk.12:15; Mt.16:26

        5. A Mighty, and Influential, Godly family can Begin with You.
            A. Joshua 24:2  Terah was an Idolater.  He was NOT godly.
            B. The most influential family in the world began when the son of an Idolater chose to stand for right and faithfully follow God

       6. Conclusion:
            A. Godly families doesn’t have to be big (ie. Noah’s family), successful, educated or impressive,
                they just have to be faithful.
            B.  Will you stand and say "as for me and my house we will serve the Lord?"

    Morality

    This section contains sermons that are address various issues of Christian Morality.  You will find sermons here on Sexual morality, honesty, integrity, racism, suicide and other similar Moral topics.

    A World of Iniquity

    Introduction: Jas. 3:6 (The Bible warns us that the tongue is a world of iniquity. It is an unruly evil that is very difficult to control. Given this fact, it is appropriate that we discuss the tongue and the specific problems it can cause.)

    I. Things Said In The Presence Of The Person:

       1. Revilers: I Pet. 2:23-24 (Christ set the best example by not reviling when others mocked. He committed the situation to God and did not seek verbal retaliation.) Jude :9 (Michael the archangel wouldn’t even rail against Satan. Hateful speech is never in order and nobody, not even Satan, has it coming.)

       2. Despiteful: Rom. 1:30 (This passage forbids us to be despiteful, to speak or act in an insulting way.)

    II. Things Said Away From The Person:

       1. Gossip: Rom. 1:29 (The whisperer is a gossip, to speak hatefully about others, especially behind their back.) Prov. 16:28 (Gossiping hurts others and can destroy friendships.)

       2. Slander: Prov. 10:18, Rom. 1:30 (The Bible shows that slandering or backbiting is wrong. This means to speak evil about others just to bring them down or make them look bad.)

    III. God Will Punish: Ps. 50:19-22 (God simply will not tolerate the evil tongue. We must learn to control it if we expect to enjoy salvation.)

    IV. It Is Sometimes Right To Speak Negatively About Others: Titus 1:12-13 (Paul spoke sharply about the Cretans. This shows there are times and circumstances where speaking harshly to or about someone is fitting. The following questions will help us sort out when our speech is gossip and when it is not.)

       1. Am I Breaking Confidence: Prov. 11:13 (The Bible tells us the talebearer is the one who reveals secrets.)

       2. Am I Saying This Just For Recreation: Rom. 15:1-3 (Sometimes we talk about others just for recreation, not for any valid purpose. We should ask if we are seeking to please ourselves or to help some situation.)

       3. Am I Saying This To Help, Or Just To Make Myself Look Better: Phil. 2:3 (Sometimes we talk just to magnify ourselves. If this is our motive for repeating a matter, then we are wrong.)

       4. Is This Going To Hurt The Person I’m Talking About: Prov. 26:22-25 (Sometimes talk hurts others, especially the one we are talking about. Would you be willing to say it if the person were standing there? Is hurting them your motive?)

    Conclusion: Eph. 4:31-32 (We must replace our hateful tongue with words of kindness that encourage. Sometimes we will have to say negative things about others. But let’s always be sure we are doing that in the right way and for the right reason.)

    Adultery

    Introduction: (The word "adultery" basically means to have carnal relations with the spouse of another. The English word, as well as the Greek and Hebrew words it translates, involves the idea of breaking a covenant, especially the marriage covenant. Our study will focus in particular on the fact that adultery violates so many relationships. We will do this to show just how bad adultery is. We desperately need a dose of this medicine because the church is plagued with this problem.)

      1. A Common Problem: (First, we need to establish that it is a common problem. We sometimes fail to realize how vulnerable we as individuals can be to this sin. We also fail to realize how common it is in society and even in the church.)

         1. Judah: Gen. 38:12-18 (This case shows that Judah went to a woman thinking she was a prostitute. We think of him as a good man, a patriarch of Israel. Yet he gave in to carnal temptation.)

         2. David: 2 Sam. 11:1-4 (David is another example of a good person yielding to the temptation of adultery. He was a man of great character and exemplary faith, yet he had this weakness. Both of these cases serve to illustrate the point that adultery is a problem all too common. It is still common today.)

      2. Breaking A Covenant: (In this section we will discuss how adultery violates so many covenants. This is not to say adultery violates each covenant in the exact same sense it violates the marriage covenant. We are attempting to see the casualties of adultery.)

         1. With God: Jas. 4:4 (Adultery violates a covenant with God because it makes you God’s enemy.)

         2. With Your Spouse: Mk. 10:11 (Perhaps the most obvious casualty of adultery is your spouse. The scriptures portray adultery as an act against her [or him].)

         3. With Your Partner’s Spouse: Prov. 6:32-35 (Not only does adultery violate your marriage covenant, but it violates the marriage of your partner in crime. The Bible warns of the jealousy of your partner’s spouse.)

         4. With Your Children2 Sam. 11:1-4, 2 Sam. 13:1-15, 2 Sam. 15:1-6, 1 Kings 1:5, 1 Kings 11:1-4 (When you commit adultery, it not only hurts your spouse, it hurts your children. Look at David’s example. His adultery was a betrayal of his entire family. His children had severe problems, some with carnal misconduct. His adultery betrayed them and set a bad example before them, causing great pain.)

         5. With The Church1 Cor. 5:1-6 (You may not realize it, but you are betraying the church with your adultery. God warns us of the evil influence of sin such as this. By indulging in adultery you bring shame on the church and risk being an evil influence on the entire flock.)

         6. With Your Friends And Associates2 Tim. 2:21 (You also betray friends and others you might have otherwise had a positive influence with. Because of your adultery, your reputation will be damaged and good you might have done will be destroyed. To be useful in God’s kingdom you must purge yourself of this kind of iniquity.)

         7. With Yourself1 Cor. 6:18 (There is something unique about carnal sin that makes it a sin against the whole body. When you commit adultery you are betraying yourself because you defile your body.)

      3. Flirting With Disaster: (Sometimes we put ourselves in extremely dangerous situations that fall short of the physical act of adultery. At these times the guilty party may be very defensive.)

         1. Pornography: Mt. 5:27-28, Prov. 7:6-27 (Jesus forbids us to look lustfully at another. He tells us this is adultery of the heart. You can spin it however you like, but the bottom line with pornography is it involves looking with lustful intent. Before the young man ever committed adultery with the loose woman he visited her street corner. When you use pornography you are going to her street corner, just begging to be led away to the slaughter.)

         2. Loose Talk: Eph. 5:12 (Some get involved in loose talk or outright vulgar talk [phone sex]. The Bible teaches it is shameful to even speak about these evil things.)

         3. Loose Situations: Prov. 4:14-15, Rom. 13:14 (The Bible clearly warns us not to make provisions for sin, not to go anywhere near the dangers of sin. Some put themselves into compromising situations, indulge in flirtation and such like. This is definitely dangerous and is often the starting place of adultery.)

         4. Loose Books: Mt. 15:19-20 (Jesus warned that evil thoughts are what defile us. You may disdain pictures or movies that portray graphic carnal content. What about the books you read? Is a romance novel with a graphic literary portrayal of carnal misconduct really different from a pictorial of the same?)

         5. Loose Shows And Movies: Ps. 101:3 (David said he would not set wicked things before his eyes. You may not watch something rankly pornographic, but you will watch something very loose. If it presents to opportunity to look or think lustfully is it really that different?)

         6. Loose Thoughts: Job 31:1 (Job said because he had made a covenant not to look lustfully, he wouldn’t even think about a young girl. When you deliberately entertain evil thoughts it is the same as looking lustfully. This can lead to worse things.)

         7. Loose Behavior: Col. 3:5 (The Bible teaches us to put to death evil lusts and lasciviousness. These terms relate to promiscuous behavior that fall short of the carnal act. Heavy petting and such lewd acts fall into this category. This is another kind of behavior that can lead to worse.)

         8. Loose Dress1 Tim. 2:9-10, Prov. 7:10 (God warns against immodest apparel. Suggestive clothing is particularly dangerous because it sets the trap for adultery. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking people don’t dress to allure. The harlot wears distinctive attire for the purpose of enticing her prey.)

      4. Making A Change: {OPTIONAL SECTION} (Follows are some thoughts on how to change and make a positive difference relative to these problems.)

         1. Build A Good Marriage: Prov. 5:15, 1 Cor. 7:1-5, Heb. 13:4 (God teaches that marriage is the appropriate outlet for carnal passion. To avoid adultery you need to build a good marriage relationship in which you can experience appropriate release.)

         2. Don’t Make Opportunity: Rom. 13:14 (Avoid things like those mentioned above, flirting with disaster. Adultery almost always begins with those kinds of behaviors.)

         3. Confess In Prayer: Ps. 51:1-10 (Like David, you need to confess in prayer your sin to God. Solicit his aid in helping you overcome the problem.)

         4. Confess To Others: Jas. 5:16 (The scriptures teach us to confess our faults to others. You need to seek the aid of a trusted Christian friend and confess your sin. Pray for each other and be accountable to each other.)

         5. Walk In The Spirit: Gal. 5:16, 2 Tim. 2:22 (To walk in the Spirit is not some meaningless cliché. It involves building a pattern of godly living, following the leading of the Spirit in scripture. Paul told Timothy to flee youthful lusts by godly living.)

    Conclusion: Prov. 6:23-29 (We cannot measure the danger or the damage caused by adultery. You need to look seriously at this problem and avoid the trappings of carnal sin. Satan is crafty and will stop at nothing to lure you into his trap of death.)

    Are you too busy to serve the Lord?

    1.     Introduction:

    A.     1 Kings 20:39-42

     

    And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it.  And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.

     

    B.     People have always been too busy to serve the Lord

    1.      Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5)

    2.      This is so true that Jesus taught great multitudes will be eternally condemned because they didn't have time to serve the Lord.  (Matthew 25:31-46)

    C.     Are you too busy to serve the Lord?

     

    2.     Things That Keep Some People Too Busy To Serve The Lord

     

    Luke 14:15-24  And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

     

    Matthew 8:18-22  Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

     

    A.     Some people are too busy with their family to serve the Lord.

    1.      "I have married a wife . . ."  (Luke 14:)

    2.      "Let me go and bury my father . . ." (Matt.8)

    3.      Jesus taught that our love for him must be so strong that our love for our family looks like hate when the two are compared.  (Luke 14:26)

     

    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

     

    4.      Our true family is the family of Christ  (Matthew 12:46-50)

    5.      Are you too busy trying to please (or "keep the peace" with) your family to serve the Lord?

     

    B.     Some people are too busy working or running their business to serve the Lord.

    1.      I have purchased some land and I need to go see it . . ."

    2.      I have purchased two yoke of oxen and I must go prove them . . ."

    3.      The rich fool was too busy with "Making a living" to serve the Lord. (Luke 12:16-21)

    a.       Many people will lose their souls "making a living"

    4.      Are you so busy "making a living" that you aren't serving the Lord?

     

    C.     Some people are too busy entertaining themselves or their friends too serve the Lord.

    1.      Follow your heart, but know that God will judge you (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

     

    Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

     

    2.      Young man who told me "I can't go to church, my friends are here"

    3.      Are you so busy having fun that you aren't serving the Lord?

     

    D.    Other things that keep people too busy to serve the Lord.

    1.      Does the "Tyranny of the Urgent" keep you from serving the Lord?

    a.       Martha was burdened with much serving (Lk.10:38-42)

    b.      Leo Busgalia visiting a fan's home for 15 minutes.

    2.      Has "getting an education" become so important to you that you have put serving the Lord on hold?

    a.       Remember thy creator in the days of thy youth  (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

     

    Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

     

    3.      The good Samaritan took the time to serve the Lord  (Luke 10:25-37)

    a.       10 seminary students and the good Samaritan

    b.      "go and do thou likewise"

     

    3.     Conclusion

    A.     God's people have always had the time to serve Him first.  Genesis 26:25

     

    And he builded an alter there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well.

     

    B.     The rich man is in hell because he never took the time  (Luke 16:19-31)

    C.     Paul said a good warrior will not become tangled in the affairs of this world  (2 Timothy 2:3,4)

     

    Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

     

    D.    What do you have time for?

    1.      The Evening News?

    2.      The News Paper?

    3.      Red Book, Sports Illustrated, or Reader's Digest?

    4.      A movie, or a favorite TV show?

    5.      Romance novels, Science Fiction, or Westerns?

    6.      A Cowboy’s football game?

    7.      Rush Limbaugh

    8.      Grab a nap?

    9.      Attend every assembly?

    10.  Study the Bible

    11.  Pray daily

    E.     You have time to serve the Lord if you want to serve the Lord.

    1.      The little lady with arthritis who "got her heart over there and her body just followed"

    2.      My grandfather speaking of waiting at the end of the row for the sun to come up and plow until it was too dark to see + chores.

    3.      But you must serve the Lord today

    a.       Jesus said "the night cometh when no man can work"  John 9:4

    b.      Paul warned that when people thought they were in "peace and safety" that the Lord would come upon them like a thief in the night.

    c.       Do you think you are safe in choosing not to serve the Lord right now?

    1)      Remember "sudden destruction"

    d.      Do you believe you are in peril because you are too busy to serve the Lord today?

    e.       Then begin today.

    1)      Are you too busy to serve the Lord this week?

    2)      We are having this meeting every night this week.

    3)      The 5 foolish virgins were just too busy to make the proper preparations, and they were refused entry with the bridegroom.

    4)      Are you prepared for the return of Jesus?

    5)      Will you be invited in with him, or

    6)      Will you be frantically trying to do what should have already been done?

    f.        You have the opportunity to make ready this very hour.

    1)      If you are not a Christian, you can become one.

    2)      If you need to repent of wickedness in your heart and/or life, you can do that this morning also

    F.      Are YOU too busy to serve the Lord?

    Breaking The Cycle

    Introduction: Lk. 15:17-24 (The prodigal son departed from his father into a life of repeated sin. His example of returning shows us that we can break the cycle of sin when we have been caught up in sin, deceit and addiction. Man offers many things to help break addiction. For example, the twelve step program used by some groups has enjoyed success. These principles work because they are godly principles. God has the solution to our spiritual problems. Follows is a discussion of steps you can take to break the cycle of sin.) I Cor. 6:9-11 (This passage shows many of the Corinthians had terrible sin problems. However, they overcome those problems and made them a thing of the past. You can too.)

    1. Realize You Have A Problem: Lk. 15:17 (It’s often been said that the first step to getting better is realizing you have a problem. The prodigal son did this when he came to himself. Sin is so deceitful that we often deny the severity of our struggle with it. You cannot get better until you realize you need to be better.) Lk. 18:9-14 (Like the Pharisee in this story, pride can cause us to focus on the other persons guilt and not see our own faults. Don’t let pride hinder you from realizing your problems.)

       A. Any Christian: I Jn. 1:8, 10 (We all struggle against sin. It is fair to say that we all have a sin problem to one degree or another. To deny we have sin is to deceive ourselves and call God a liar.)

       B. Overcome: II Pet. 2:19-21 (If you have been overcome by sin and brought into the bondage of addiction, you especially need to realize the extent of your problem and the need to change.)

    2. Repent: Lk. 15:18 (Repentance amounts to the decision to turn from sin and follow Jesus. The prodigal son repented when he made the decision, "I will arise".)

    3. Confess: Lk. 15:21, I Jn. 1:9 (We must confess our sins to God. The prodigal son took this vital step when he humbly admitted his guilt. Note that his confession did not point the finger of blame at anyone else but himself.)

       A. Humble: Ps. 34:18, Ps. 51:3 (David speaks of the importance of having a contrite spirit. He showed that in his own life. You must be contrite and humble in order to confess your guilt. You will never overcome your sin with a self-righteous denial of your guilt.)

       B. Doesn’t Pay To Hide: Prov. 28:13 (It does not pay to try to hide your guilt. You are better off to come clean, confess and forsake.) Ps. 32:3-5 (David was burdened with guilt until he confessed to God.)

       C. Confess To A Faithful Christian: Jas. 5:16 (We also must confess our sins to a trusted Christian. We sometimes think confessing that we have faults is all we have to do. However, that does not meet the demand of this passage. We must confess to each other and pray for each other.)

    4. Fruit Of Repentance: Mt. 3:8, Acts 26:20 (Repentance, by its nature, is followed by deeds that reflect the change of heart.) II Cor. 7:8-11 (This passage makes it clear that repentance is not just being sorry for what you’ve done. That is sorrow of the world and it brings death. Godly sorrow brings repentance which produces certain fruits.)

       A. Carefulness: (Haste, diligence, earnestness in accomplishing or promoting something.)

       B. Clearing Of Yourselves: (Answering for yourself, from whence we get our word apology.)

       C. Indignation: (Indignation, vexation, to be angry at yourself for doing wrong.)

       D. Fear: (Fear, dread or terror, to be fearful of the consequence of your sin.)

       E. Vehement Desire: (Earnest longing, an intense desire to do better.)

       F. Zeal: (Excitement of mind, fervor of spirit, ardor, a strong desire to do what is right.)

       G. Revenge: (Meeting out justice, doing justice to all parties, a desire to make right what you have wronged.)

       H. Approved Yourselves To Be Clear In This Matter: (To pull yourself together to be free from carnality in the matter being considered.)

    5. Building A Cycle Of Righteousness: Eph. 4:22-24 (Just like the addiction to sin is established by practice, so must righteousness be established by practice. You must build a habit of godly living.)

       A. Meditation On The Word: Ps. 119:9-11, Ps. 1:1-3 (You must meditate on the word of God. Fill your mind with his values and his thoughts.) II Cor. 3:18 (The power of his word will change you as you follow its precepts.)

       B. Meditation On The Consequence: Ps. 107:17, Rev. 21:8 (You must consider the consequence of your sin, in this life and in eternity.)

       C. Radical Change: Mt. 19:16-22 (The rich young ruler had such a problem with covetousness that he needed radical change in his life. You may need some radical changes in your life too.) Eph. 4:31-32 (You can bring about this radical change by replacing evil behavior with good behavior.)

    Conclusion: Heb. 12:1, Ezek. 18:21-24 (You must put aside the sins that inhibit your service to God. If you slip into sinful living you jeopardize your soul. If you will turn from your sin and follow Jesus, God will forgive you and make you clean.)

    Challenge your own Sincerity


    Introduction: Josh. 24:14 (God tells us to serve him in sincerity and truth. We have before us, then, the challenge to constantly monitor our sincerity. In this lesson we will look at several issues to help us question our own sincerity.)

    I. Thoughts On Sincerity: (Follows are some general thoughts about the character and nature of sincerity.)

    1. Good Deeds Can Be Insincere: Phil. 1:16 (Paul spoke of the preaching of some as being insincere. Though the deed itself was good, it was tarnished by insincerity. So even if the deed is good, in the overall picture we can be wrong if we are not sincere. This shows us why it is so important to be sincere.)

    2. Greater Love And Knowledge: Phil. 1:9-10 (Paul prayed they would have greater love and knowledge. He spoke of how this could help them to be more sincere. This gives us our litmus test to measure sincerity. We will use love and knowledge to test specific areas of our lives.)

    3. Challenge To Test: II Cor. 8:8-11 (Paul challenged the church at Corinth to prove their sincerity by following through on their intentions to help in a benevolent work. So to test your sincerity, you must test to see how you follow through on your intentions. We will basically do this as we examine several areas of the Christian life.)

    II. Kindness: (Think of your sincerity in the area of kindness to others.)

    1. Be Sincerely Kind: Rom. 12:9-10 (God requires us to treat one another with kindness. He challenges us to see that our love and kindness is genuine, not hypocritical.)

    2. But Don’t Be Plastic: Prov. 26:24-26 (Yet God warns us about those who are kind but plastically so. You must wonder if you are ever like this. We are supposed to be kind, but are you ever plastically kind? Do you ever put on the "sugar coating" while despising someone behind their back?)

    III. Encouragement: (Think of your sincerity in the area of encouraging others.)

    1. Build Up: Eph. 4:29 (The Bible teaches us to say things, not to tear others down, but to build them up. So we should say positive things to encourage others.)

    2. Empty Flattery: Ps. 12:2, Ps. 55:21 (Yet God warns us about those who speak flattery with evil intent. This is more than being plastically kind. This is a matter of flattering with veiled desire to do someone ill.) Prov. 29:5 (Again, we are warned about empty flattery. In this case it can be someone setting a trap with words of praise. Do you ever praise others with subtle intent to trap? Is the hypocrisy of your empty flattery buried so deep it’s difficult to see?)

    IV. Concern: (Think of your sincerity in the area of being concerned about others.)

    1. Must Care: Ezek. 3:18 (God requires us to take an interest in the souls of others. We must take an active enough interest to confront sin. In the spirit of this principle, it seems we would take an interest in other people’s lives.)

    2. Not Busybodies: I Pet. 4:15 (However, God forbids us to meddle in the business of other people. So how do we know when we are prodding too far? After all, a person could be sincere and still meddle in business not their own. Do you ever interfere with others and go too far? Do you sometimes cloak being nosy under a guise of concern? Are you really sincere in the concern you show for others?)

    V. Friendships: (Think of your sincerity in the friends you choose and the friendships you spurn.)

    1. Natural Preferences: I Sam. 18:1, I Sam. 19:2 (Jonathan and David had a natural bond between them. We all develop special bonds with some based on personal preferences and personalities. That is not wrong.)

    2. Partiality Forbidden: Jas. 2:1-4 (However, we are forbidden to show partiality based on shallow concerns. Do you play favorites based on what people have rather than what they are? Do you claim to like some and dislike others on a legitimate basis while really being shallow? What is your criteria for sorting preferred friends from spurned acquaintances? Do you sort out relationships based on finances, social standing or other shallow concerns? Are you sincere in your treatment of others in choosing friends?)

    VI. Morality: (Think of your sincerity in the area of your moral standards.)

    1. Must Have Godly Morals: II Cor. 1:12 (Paul said he governed his conduct in sincerity. We must be sincere in holding to lofty moral standards.)

    2. Not For Show: Mt. 6:1-3 (However, we are warned not to hold high standards for the sake of show. Do you hold high moral standards because that has become fashionable in your circle? Do you trumpet godly causes for ungodly pride? Are you sincere in your morals?)

    Conclusion: Acts 2:46 (Early Christians lived their daily lives with singleness of heart. This points to a strong kind of sincerity. We must do the same. The above issues should help us all to question if we are sincere in our service to God.)

    Choosing Friends

    I. Friendship Defined: (We use the term "friends" rather loosely. When we understand the limitations God has placed on our friendships, we must then understand to whom these limitations apply.)

      1. Being Friendly: Mt. 7:12 (You should treat others the way you want to be treated. This involves being kind and of a friendly disposition to everyone. Therefore, the limitations God has placed on friendship do not restrict this kind of association.) I Cor. 5:10 (You cannot completely segregate yourself from sinful people.)

      2. Regular, Voluntary Socialization: I Cor. 15:33 (There is another level of friendship that God has forbidden us to develop with the world. Though circumstances may force us to associate with some people at work or school, we are not at liberty to voluntarily socialize with ungodly people or develop this level of friendship with them.)

      3. Close Friends: I Sam. 18:1 (There is a deeper kind of friendship that involves extreme closeness. This kind is rare. In this study we will learn it is a sin to develop these friendships with the world.)

    II. Commands To Be Choosy: (The Bible gives very specific commands for us to be choosy in selecting our friends.)

      1. For Israel: Exo 34:12, Ezra 9:14 (Israel was explicitly forbidden to develop relationships with ungodly nations. Eventually they built these relationships and it brought them down. After the restoration from Babylonian captivity Ezra reflects on what folly it would be to build those relationships again.)

       2. Don't Desire Friendship With Sinners: Prov. 24:1 (It is a sin to even desire friendships with sinners.)

       3. Disdain Their Ways: Eph. 5:7-11 (We should so despise the ways of sinners that it would hinder the development of a friendship.)

       4. "Hate" Sinners: Ps. 139:21-22 (There is a righteous kind of hatred that can coexist with love. The bottom line is that we count as our enemies those who are enemies of God.)
       

    III. What Bad Friendships Will Do To You: (The Bible warns of certain things that bad friendships will do to you. Forbidding these friendships is God's way of protecting you from the harm they can bring.)

       1. Thorn: Num. 33:55 (Israel was warned that bad associations would be a continual thorn to them. This fact is well illustrated in their history.)

       2. Destroyed: Prov. 13:20 (Bad friendships will destroy you.)

       3. Shame Family: Prov. 28:7 (Bad relationships will bring shame to your family.)

       4. Corrupt Behavior: I Cor. 15:33, Prov. 22:24-25 (Bad relationships will corrupt you behavior. You are not an exception to this!)

    IV. Godly Friendships: (On the opposite side, look what the Bible says about godly friendships.)

       1. Commanded: Ps. 119:63 (We are commanded to be friends of those who are friends of God.)

       2. Helps: Eccl. 4:9-12 (Godly friendships help you maintain your Christian life.)

       3. Sharpens: Prov. 17:17 (Godly friendships will sharpen you.)

       4. Refreshes: II Tim. 1:16 (Paul describes his friendship with Onesiphorus as being refreshing.)

    V. Characteristics To Look For: (What qualities does God want you to have in a friend?)

       1. Loving: Prov. 17:17 (God wants you to have friends that consistently love you.)

       2. Loyal: Prov. 27:10 (God wants you to have loyal friends.)

       3. Consistent: Prov. 19:6-7 (God wants you to have friends that are not "fair-weather".)

       4. Concerned: Job 2:11-13 (Though Job's friends were too harsh, they were concerned. God wants you to have friends that are concerned.)

    VI. Association To Convert: (While God forbids us to have ungodly friendships, you may develop relationships for the purpose of converting. But be cautious!)

       1. Jesus Did It: Mt. 9:9-13 (Jesus associated with sinners but for the stated purpose of leading them to repentance. He never developed friendships with such people.)

       2. But Did Not Build Friendships: Jn. 15:13-14 (The friendship Jesus offers is conditional on people obeying his commands.)

       3. Godliness Alienates The Worldly: Jn. 15:18-19 (In most cases you won't have to segregate yourself. The more you become the Christian God wants you to be, the world will not want you for a friend.)

    Compassion

    Introduction: Prov. 11:17 (The Bible teaches we should be merciful, compassionate. This is better for us, it makes us better, happier people. Many acknowledge the need to be compassionate, but fail to understand godly compassion. What some mistakenly call compassion may actually be cruel.)

    1. Defining Compassion:

       A.Mercy: Mt. 5:7 (The word "mercy" in scripture means, "kindness toward human wretchedness, coupled with an impulse to relieve it". This reveals two basic elements to compassion. First, kindness toward others. Second, doing what you can to offer real solutions to peoples problems.)

       B.Relieve Problem: Mt. 9:36-37 (Christ expressed his compassion by seeking to supply these people's spiritual needs. Compassion sometimes involves offering hard solutions to unpleasant problems.)

       C.Four Steps: Exo. 3:7-8 (God reveals his compassion for Israel in four steps; note problem, listen, understand, and relieve.)

       D.Doesn't Exclude Consequences: Lam. 3:32-39 (God's compassion does not keep him from punishing sinners. Compassion does not mean overlooking offense. Illustrate with mother pushing kid in parking lot, not to hurt him but to save his life.)

       E.Other Thoughts: Lk. 10:33-34 (The Samaritan's compassion was expressed in terms of tangible relief.) Ps. 86:15 (Compassion is equated with patience and mercy and truth.) Ps. 78:38 (Compassion can involve holding back anger.) Prov. 16:6 (Compassion seeks to remove sin, not excuse it.)

    2. Developing Compassion:

       A.The Golden Rule: Mt. 7:12 (You can develop a more compassionate attitude by considering how compassionate you want God to be with you.)

       B.Based On Other's Effort: Mt. 15:32 (Jesus felt compassion, not just because these people were hungry, but because their hunger resulted from following him. Illustrate with teaching "bumping" the grade for a student who's really trying.)

       C.Remember Your Sin: Heb. 5:1-2 (The priests maintained compassion by sacrificing for their own sin before attending to other's sins. You can develop more compassion in dealing with other people's sin by remembering your own weaknesses.)

    3. Putting Compassion Into Practice:

       A.Not Enough To Feel Compassion: Prov. 27:5 (Quietly feeling pity for others is not compassion. You must put your feelings into action, even if it means rebuking others.)

       B.Forgive: Mt. 18:27, 33 (Practice compassion by forgiving others when they repent.)

       C.Restore: Gal. 6:1-2 (Real compassion is expressed by helping others overcome sin, not by excusing sin.)

       D.Discipline: Heb. 12:6, 11 (Parental compassion is expressed in discipline, punishment, not laxness.)

       E.Not Just Doing Favors: Num. 11:14-17 (Moses begged to die. God's compassion didn't just do Moses that "favor". Instead, he helped Moses improve the situation. Compassion might lead you to refuse another's request. That is not cruel, it is in their best interest. Illustrate with wino begging for alcohol.)

    Conclusion: (Many today grossly misunderstand compassion. You need to have the kind of compassion taught in scripture; kindness toward others who sin, but don't just overlook the sin. Try to help them overcome it.) 

    Compromise

    Introduction: I Kings 18:21 (Elijah challenged Israel to not compromise their religious values. If Baalism is right, then follow it. If Jehovah is God, then follow him and leave Baal alone. In our study we will issue the same challenge. In matters of religion, you need to decide what is right and stand for what is right.)

    I. Define The Issue: Prov. 24:21, Jas. 1:8 (We rightly admire those who have a knack for compromising in areas of personal preference and bringing peace. However, we also know that being wishy-washy is wrong. Always changing and shifting is a sign of instability. Though we honor compromise in areas of personal preference, we must realize that in matters of God's law there is no room for compromise. God's commands are not so many bargaining chips for us to slide back and forth across an ecclesiastical table to seek religious union.)

       1. Moral Standards: Gen. 39:7-12 (Joseph well illustrated a refusal to compromise moral standards. When tempted to commit fornication he fled. You should refuse to compromise God's moral standards. Illustrate with going to wild party but won't drink. Does your presence at such a place represent compromise?)

       2. Worship Issues: I Cor. 14:26-35 (God's regulations for the assembly are not bargaining chips for us to trade at our discretion. They are commands from God. You must not compromise in these areas.) Eph. 4:14 (Being carried about with different ideas is not right, even if it is done for the sake of union. Surrendering God's principles is not right. Taking this approach will keep you constantly changing to fit the latest doctrinal trends in order to preserve religious union.)

       3. Personal Integrity: Mt. 12:30 (In God's eyes there is no compromise. Either you are with him or you're not. Any breach in your personal religious integrity may compromise your overall structure and weaken you to the point of falling. Illustrate with destroying large building by weakening a few key points. Remember, compromising personal preferences is good, but compromising God's word is not acceptable.)

    II. What Leads To Compromise: (Understanding what leads to compromise can go a long way toward helping you prevent the wrong kind of compromise.)

       1. False Prophets: II Cor. 11:13-15 (Paul expressed concern that false prophets would cause the Corinthians to compromise their values and follow error.) Rom. 16:17-18 (This passage has been widely misused in the past to breach fellowship needlessly. Just because it was commonly misused doesn't mean it has no application to us today. We must mark and avoid those who push error to the point of division. We should not compromise and tolerate false prophets, we should avoid them.)

       2. Feelings For Others: Exo. 23:2 (Sometimes our feelings for others, that they are "such good people" can lead us to compromise values to accommodate their divergent views and practices. This is commensurate to following the crowd to endorse or commit evil. God forbids us to do such.)

       3. Evaluating With Your Heart: Prov. 28:26 (Sometimes we let emotions flavor our decisions instead of using God's word. This can lead to compromise. Illustrate with defending the deceased. "They are in death what they were in life!" Your emotions are not a reliable standard by which to judge spiritual matters.)

       4. Fear Of Persecution: I Pet. 4:12-16 (Sometimes we tend to be lax on values for fear of being persecuted or laughed at. Peter teaches us to expect persecution as a natural part of the Christian life. Don't let that lead you to compromise.) Gal. 2:1-5 (Even in the face of peer pressure, Paul refused to compromise on circumcision.)

    III. Take A Stand: Phil. 1:17 (Paul was appointed for the purpose of defending the gospel. We should accept the same charge and not compromise where God's word is concerned.) Gal. 2:11 (Paul was so strong in his commitment to not compromise, he even rebuked a fellow apostle.) Jude :3 (We all have the responsibility to fervently defend what is right according to God's word. In matters of religion, you need to rember Elijah's challenge. Decide what is right based on God's word and stay with it. Compromising personal opinions is good, but God didn't give us his word so we could edit it for sake of religious union. He gave us his word to obey. In matters of God's word, there is no room for compromise.)

    Humility

    Introduction: (Pride is a difficult problem to overcome. The key to overcoming pride is humility. This may seem oversimplified, but it is true. You can defeat pride in yourself by practicing humility. Follows is a discussion of humility, what it means, its characteristics, and how it helps overcome pride.)

    I. What It Means To Be Humble: (To be humble essentially means to be empty of self and full of God. It creates the attitude; God is, and I’m not!)

      1. Humble In Mind: Phil. 2:3 (Humility starts in the mind. You must work on your attitude.)

      2. Humble Toward God: Jas. 4:10 (You must humble yourself before God. This will mean his will becomes more important to you.)

      3. Humble Toward Others, Meek: Titus 3:2 (Meekness is similar to humility. Meekness generally involves an outward expression, disposition.)

    II. Overcoming Pride With Humility:

      1. The Essence Of Pride: (Remember from the study on pride that the essence of pride is to be full of self and empty of God.)

      2. Reversing The Process: Eph. 3:16-19, Phil. 1:11 (The obvious thing to do is to fill yourself with God. Being filled with God involves making his priorities your priorities. It will cause you to root your life in godly living. Follows are steps that will help you to fill yourself with God.)

        A. Respect God: Isa. 66:2 (An essential part of learning humility is gaining a respect for God’s word. This helps you make his teaching your priority, not your own values.)

        B. Your Smallness: Ps. 8:3-4 (You must see yourself as small in God’s scheme of creation. This helps you knock yourself off the pedestal.)

        C. Realize Weakness: Rom. 7:18 (Replace your prideful feelings with a realization that your flesh is weak and undisciplined.)

        D. Humble Yourself Before God: 1 Pet. 5:6 (This leads up to humbling yourself before God, letting him guide your life.)

        E. Express Shame: Prov. 30:32 (Expressing your shame, remorse and repentance to God and others will help you overcome pride. This will wound your pride, but what better way to kill it than to wound it.) 

    III. Other Things To Remember:

      1. Realize Love Overcomes Pride: 1 Cor. 13:4 (Love, by its nature, will defeat pride.)

      2. Realize Pride Yearns For Fame But Brings Humiliation: Prov. 11:2, Prov. 16:18 (Pride cannot deliver what it promises and demands. It is hopeless and futile.)

      4. Realize Pride Is A Hopeless Trap: Prov. 26:12 (Understanding the nature of pride will help you to see its futility, motivating you to overcome it.)

      5. Don’t Glory In Self, Glory In God: Jer. 9:23 (This is something specific you can do. In every situation, avoid taking credit for yourself and give God the glory. Seek to exalt him in your words and deeds.)

      6. Never Take Credit For What God Has Done: Dan. 2:30 (Whatever ability you have is a blessing from God. So when you accomplish something great you have nothing to boast of.) II Cor. 3:5 (Give God the glory for your ability instead of heaping the glory on yourself.)

      7. Realize You Can Always Do Better: 1 Cor. 8:1-2 (Realize that no matter how smart/good you are, you should be smarter/better.) Lk. 17:10 (No matter how well you have done, you can always do better.)

      8. Remember Your Past Mistakes: Deut. 9:7 (If you start feeling too good about things you can always reflect on your past which is certainly littered with many mistakes.)

    IV. Blessings Of Humility:

      1. Spiritual Greatness: Mt. 18:2-4 (Humility brings spiritual greatness. It helps you to be effective in God’s kingdom.)

      2. Quality Of Life: Prov. 22:4 (Humility helps you to find the best that life has to offer.)

      3. Exaltation: Mt. 23:12 (God will exalt you in a proper way if you practice humility.)

      4. Honor: Prov. 15:33 (The honor that pride craves only comes by humility.)

    Kindness

    Eph. 4:31-32

    Christians are told to put away unkind behavior and replace it with kind behavior. What is God's idea of kindness? what can you do to be more kind? What can you stop doing to eliminate unkindness?

    1. Things To Stop Doing: Eph. 4:31 (This is a list of behaviors the Lord wants you to "put away" or stop.)

       Bitterness: Bitter hatred, bitter statements: Compare this with Rom. 3:14.

       Wrath: Swelling rage, generally indicates the attitude or feeling of anger rather than expressed anger:

       Anger: Anger exhibited in punishment, expressed anger: Compare with "vengeance" in Rom. 3:5 and "wrath" in I Thes. 1:10.

       Clamor: Outcry, wailing of those in distress, crying out in controversy: Compare with "cry" in Acts 23:9.

       Evil Speaking: Slander, speech injurious to another's good name: Jesus forbid such speech in Mt. 5:22.

       Malice: Ill will, desire to injure:

    2. Things To Do: Eph. 4:32 (This is a list of behaviors the Lord wants you to "put on" or do.)

       Kind: Fit for use, mild, pleasant, benevolent: Prov. 31:26

       Tenderhearted: Compassionate, naturally loving with family members:

       Forgiving: To pardon, to do a favor, gratify: Compare this with "freely give" in Rom. 8:32.

    3. Some General Thoughts On Kindness:

       It Is Commanded: I Pet. 3:8, Col. 3:12

       It Emanates From Love: I Cor. 13:4

       It Is Good For You: Prov. 11:17

       It Should Be Given Even To The Undeserving: Lk. 6:35

       Remember The Golden Rule: Mt. 7:12

    THOUGHT QUESTIONS

      1. Are you as kind as you should be to your spouse?

      2. Do you find yourself speaking rudely to your spouse and then suddenly answering the phone in a kind voice?

      3. Do you excuse unkind behavior because you're in a bad mood while managing to be kind to friends at the same time?

      4. Does periodic hormonal imbalance excuse hateful behavior?

      5. Does having a bad day at work excuse hateful behavior?

      6. Does the principle of kindness demand that you be patient with your spouse when they use the above excuses to mask their sin of unkindness?

      7. Do you want your spouse to be understanding of you when you have had a bad day or are not feeling well?

      8. Is humor ever unkind?

      9. Is it okay to use humor at someone else's expense?

      10. When you joke at another's expense, do you want them to realize you mean no ill will toward them? Do you want them to understand it is only a joke?

      11. Do you sometimes use humor to mask a real insult?

      12. Do you mind being the occasional "butt" of a joke?

      13. Do you feel hurt when you are repeatedly the "butt" of the jokes?

      14. Is kindness contagious?

      15. Is hatefulness contagious?

      16. Have your children learned disrespect for their other parent by observing your disrespect for their other parent?

      17. Is it sickening to you to see a couple go out of their way to be kind to one another?

      18. Is it sickening to God to see a couple go out of their way to be kind to one another?

      19. What specifically can you do to be more kind to your spouse?

      20. What specifically can you stop doing to be more kind to your spouse?

    Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life

    Introduction: I Jn. 2:16-17 (In this passage the Apostle John classifies sin in three categories. A detailed examination of this should help us understand the dynamics of sin and therefore defeat sin.)

    In The Garden Of Eden:

      1. God Spoke His Law: Gen. 2:15-17 (God's law forbid them to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.)

      2. Satan Tempted: Gen. 3:1-5 (Satan enticed Eve based on natural desires for food, knowledge, etc..)

      3. Eve Lusted: Gen. 3:6 (She experienced lust of the flesh [saw the tree was good for food], lust of the eyes [and that it was pleasant to the eyes], and the pride of life [a tree to be desired to make one wise, be as gods]).

    Today:

      1. God Has Given His Law: Rom. 3:20, Rom. 7:7 (God's law through Moses defined sin.) I Tim. 3:4 (The law of Christ today defines sin.)

      2. Tempted By Satan: Mt. 4:3 (He is fitly called the tempter.) Jas. 1:13, II Pet. 2:9 (In contrast God is not the tempter but the deliverer.) I Cor. 10:13 (God has put limits on how much Satan can tempt us.) (Our temptations, like Eve's are based on natural desires. The natural desires are not wrong. It is not a sin to be tempted, it is a sin to yield to lust and the sinful act itself.)

      3. Lust By Man: (At this point sin occurs. There is more than a mere natural desire. There is now a sinful anticipation of the sin. Man anticipates fulfilling the natural desire in a way that violates God's law.) Gal. 5:17 (This passages examples lust of the flesh.) Mt. 5:28 (This passage examples lust of the eyes.) Ps. 10:4 (This passage examples pride of life.)

      4. Lust Conceives: Jas. 1:14-15 (Man is drawn away of his own natural desires. He experiences lust [sinful lust] and the lust conceives, giving birth to the sinful act itself.)

      5. Judgment From God: Gen. 3:7-13, Rom. 14:10-12 (As Adam and Eve were scrutinized for their sin, so will you and I be.)

      6. Punishment: Gen. 3:14-24, II Thes. 1:8-9 (As God punished Adam and Eve, he will punish those now in sin at the coming of Jesus.)

      7. The Way Of Escape:

         A. Be in Christ: Gal. 3:27, Rom. 6:7 (Once you are baptized into Christ you are free from sin.)

         B. Remember Promises: II Pet. 3:9 (Remember God loves you and doesn't want you to perish.)

         C. Use The Word: Jas. 4:7 (If we [like Jesus in Mt. 4] use the word to resist Satan, he will flee from us.)

         D. Physically Flee: Gen. 39:12 (Joseph fled the circumstances that created the temptation. So must we.)

         E. The Great Escape: II Cor. 5:1-4 (Just keep hanging on and some day we will all be delivered from this flesh and its temptations.)

    Principles that Govern Benevolence

    Introduction: (We are frequently confronted with people wanting money. Our conscience tugs at us to help every case, but our sense tells us it’s not always best. There are specific principles in the Bible that govern how we help others. This study will explore some of those principles.)

    1. Not Responsible For More Than Needs: (Someone says they need money for a trip or to pay a bill. Are we obligated? Just because someone asks for something, do we have to fulfill that request? Prosperity and political philosophy have caused us to redefine poverty. In our mentality a person can have a warm home, vehicles, TV with cable, a months supply of food and still be poor. This is not poverty in the biblical sense. Poverty is doing without real needs like food, and clothing (I Tim. 6:6-8 ). Are we responsible to help beyond these needs?)

      A. Responsible: I Jn. 3:17 (There is no question we have a duty to help our brother or sister when they are in need. If we fail to help as we should we are not showing God’s love in our life.)

      B. Needs: I Tim. 6:6-8 (Just exactly what is a need? Someone says, "I NEED something." Is it a need or a want? The Bible teaches us to be content with the basic necessities of life. But God doesn’t leave things in those general terms. Paul defines needs here as food and clothing.) Mt. 6:11, Heb. 13:5 (Jesus echoed the same concept when he taught us to pray for daily food. The same sentiments are in other passages as well. While we may want to help with things beyond these basics, we need to understand that God’s view of poverty and need is different from our own.)

    2. Can’t Eliminate Suffering: Mk. 14:7 (While making a point about caring for him, Jesus says we will always have poor people.)

      A. Humanitarian: Prov. 14:21, 31, Prov. 17:5, Prov. 19:17, Prov. 21:13, Prov. 29:7 (Just listen to all these passages that tell us we must have compassion on the poor. Though we can’t eliminate all suffering, we have to have some interest in trying.) Gal. 6:10 (We simply must use our opportunities to help when we can, especially fellow Christians.)

      B. The Purpose In Trying: II Cor. 9:7-13 (When we do try to help, whether it’s as individuals or a congregation, we must remember the purpose is to glorify God. Our goal is not to eliminate poverty. That cannot happen so that goal is destined to fail. Our goal is to glorify God by showing his love to the world. That is a very attainable goal.)

    3. Can’t Subsidize Laziness: Prov. 19:15 (Some poverty, hunger, is caused by laziness. Are we obligated to hand money or even food to the lazy? Is it even right for us to supplement laziness?)

      A. If One Won’t Work: Prov. 20:4, II Thes. 3:10 (The sluggard has no food and begs. Is he given anything? This verse says he has nothing. Paul commanded that if a person refused to work, they were not to eat. Does that mean we MUST feed the lazy person? No. In fact, it suggests we MUST NOT feed such a person. So if a person wears a sign that says, "will work for food", find out. Offer them some simple work in exchange for food and you’ll find out who’s lazy. Work is the acid test to surmise the legitimacy of a need.)

      B. But Can We Judge: Mt. 7:20 (Some will hasten to say we can’t judge whether or not a person is lazy and that it’s not our place. But Jesus says we know people by their fruits. It IS our place to inspect the fruit of others. It IS our place to obey the command that if one won’t work, they shouldn’t eat.) Acts 11:29 (The disciples made a decision to help needy saints. Making such a decision involves judgment. If God gave us the responsibility to make such decisions, he gave us the responsibility to make judgments involved in these decisions.)

    4. Can’t Subsidize Sinful Lifestyle: (A sad reality of many panhandlers is that many seek funds to support their sinful habits. A man receives money from the church and procures the services of a prostitute. A person stinking of booze "needs" money. Are we right to be giving money to these situations?)

      A. Stumbling Block: Rom. 14:21 (Paul warns us not to exercise our liberties in a way that causes another to stumble or sin. If we lazily cast money at a bad situation to salve our conscience, are we exercising a liberty to help that winds up being hurtful? Are we contributing to someone else’s problems if we give money without thought?)

      B. Shun And Rebuke: Eph. 5:11 (We are to despise and rebuke these evil works. If we blindly give money to suspicious characters, are we really despising these evil lifestyles? Are we missing a chance to rebuke? Why not offer food, fuel, clothes or work? Where does the Bible say we must give money to every person off the street who asks?)

    5. Can’t Subsidize Irresponsibility: (An old saying says poor people have poor ways. We hesitate to say this in a world of political correctness, but it’s true. Sometimes people get in bad circumstances by their own doing. Does God require us to hand money to people in these situations?)

      A. Some Poverty Is Self Induced: Prov. 10:4, Prov. 21:17, Prov. 23:21 (The Bible clearly teaches that some people are poor because of bad habits or mismanagement. Certainly not all poor fit this category, in fact maybe not even most. But some fit and we do a disservice if we fail to recognize this fact.)

      B. Real Help: Mt. 25:34-36 ("I was hungry and you gave me money. I was thirst and you gave me money. I was sick and you gave me money." Is that what the Lord said? We get the idea that these needs were often helped without money. If we give more money to a person who is irresponsible with what little money they have, how are we helping? What if we address their basic need for food and clothes while giving them attention? That would take energy, but it would be REAL help. And it would be in the spirit of the help Christ teaches us to give.)

    Conclusion: Lk. 10:33-35 (How much money did the good Samaritan give to the person he helped? NONE! Not one copper coin! He gave time, supplies and care. He spent money on behalf of the victim. But he didn’t throw him money and walk away. That would have been irresponsible and uncaring. And it often is today. When we are confronted with needs, we should be willing to help real needs. We can’t always tell what’s legitimate, but we can give the kind of help that is more fail safe.)

     

    Put Away Lying and Speak the Truth

    Introduction: (In a world of lies and deceit, it is good to remind ourselves of the penalty of lying and blessings of being honest.)

      1. God Demands Honesty: Eph. 4:25 (Paul says we must replace lying with truth speaking. We are obligated to do this because of our relationship with one another.) Col. 3:9 (Our new relationship with God as Christians also calls upon us to be honest. As Christians we are to imitate God. It is impossible for God to lie, so we shouldn't lie either.) Titus 1:2/Eph. 5:1 (God cannot lie and we should follow God. Therefore, we should build a habit of honesty such that we cannot lie.)

      2. Put Away Lying: (Here we will look at the negative, the down side of lying.)

         A. God Hates Liars: Prov. 6:16-19 (In a list of seven things God despises, it is interesting that two of them have to do with lying.)

         B. Lying Hurts Others: Gen. 39:13-20 (When Potipher's wife lied about Joseph, it destroyed his good name. Lying about others hurts them beyond measure. We can guard against theft, but we can't stop people from lying about us.)

         C. Lying Makes Things Worse: II Sam. 11:1-27 (David tried to use deceit to cover his sin. First he sought Uriah, then he got Uriah drunk, finally, he had Uriah killed. Every effort to deceive only made the situation worse.)

         D. God Kills Liars: Acts 5:1-10 (Ananias and Sapphira were not condemned for keeping part of the money. They were condemned for lying. Though their lie was before men, in God's eyes, lying to our fellow man equals lying to God.)

         E. Liars Go To Hell: Rev. 21:8 (If you persist in lying, it can cost you your salvation.)

      3. Being Deceitful Is The Same: Prov. 24:28, Prov. 26:18-19 (In God's eyes, being deceitful is the same as lying. You may say something that is technically true, but in such a way to mislead. That is still a lie.) Gen. 20:1-12 (Abraham tried to deceive Abimelech. He told him Sarah was his sister. This was technically true, she was his half-sister. It was still part of an effort to deceive, therefore, it was dishonest.) Gen. 26:6-7 (Isaac later told the same kind of lie. As far as I can tell, it wasn't a half-truth. Rebekah was not his sister. Isaac copied his father, only his lie was more blatant. Others learn by watching you.)

      4. Speak The Truth: (Now let's look at the positive side of the issue. Some people talk about those who lie when the truth would serve them better. Honesty is always better.)

         A. Honesty Pleases God: Prov. 11:1 (God is pleased with us when we are honest with others.)

         B. Honesty Builds A Good Name: Mt. 5:33-37, Prov. 12:19 (Most people swear or promise as a guard against lying. Isn't it a luxury to be able to let your yes and no stand alone? Don't you like dealing with people that you can trust without reservation? Your word is your honor.)

         C. The Golden Rule: Mt. 7:12 (Being honest sets a precedent for how you want others to treat you.)

    Conclusion: (Your relationship with God and your fellow man calls upon you to be honest. This will improve your relationships here on earth and is an essential part of your quest for heaven.)

    Righteous Souls Vexed

    Introduction: 2 Pet. 2:7-8 (Lot was living in Sodom and Gomorra, very wicked cities. The relentless pressure from the evil ways of those who lived their tormented him. It seems to have eroded away at his family’s sense of values. Perhaps what happened to Lot in some way mirrors what is happening to the church today. The relentless onslaught of immorality seems to have flavored our thinking and our standards are slipping.)

    I. What Happened With Lot:

      1. An Unbelievable Offer: Gen. 19:4-8 (It is beyond me how Lot could offer his daughters to be raped by a mob of degenerates. I wonder if this is a reflection of how much he was being vexed by living in such a sinful area.)

      2. A Dead Wife: Gen. 19:17, 26 (Lot’s wife shows weakness when she disobeyed God and looked back. Their time in Sodom and Gomorra is taking its toll.)

      3. An Unthinkable Act: Gen. 19:30-38 (After their escape Lot’s daughters conspire to get him drunk and sleep with him. I cannot understand the mentality that would lead two girls to do this to their father. Again, it seems their time in Sodom and Gomorra took its toll.)

    II. What Is Happening Today:

       1. Sexual Immorality: Eph. 5:3-5 (The Lord is very specific that we must not indulge in fornication and such sins. Have we slipped a little? Are some Christian parents providing their kids with birth control? Is this kind of behavior thought of as a shame the way it once was?)

       2. Modesty: 1 Tim. 2:9-10, Prov. 11:22; 1 Tim. 5:22, 1 Pet. 3:1-5 (Solomon tells how terrible it is when a woman flaunts her beauty and fails to exercise discretion. Paul told Timothy to keep himself pure or chaste. This includes the idea of modest clothing. Our values in the church have radically changed with the times, so much so that we don’t hear much said about modest clothing anymore.)

       3. Entertainment: 1 Cor. 13:6 (Love does not rejoice in someone’s sin. Many forms of entertainment that are common today celebrate sin. As our standards grow looser we are letting ourselves slide with the time. Love, as well as other principles, precludes us from participating in a lot of what the world finds entertaining.)

       4. Drinking: Prov. 20:1, Rom. 14:21 (Alcohol makes fools out of people. We all agree that drunkenness is wrong, but we differ on the moderate use of alcohol. Does it make sense to flirt with disaster? Are we getting lax on drinking? Are we tolerant of some situations that are at best bad judgment and at worst wrong?)

       5. Divorce: Mt. 19:4-6 (Jesus teaches that God intends marriage to be permanent. We understand there are certain circumstances in which God permits divorce, but are we loosening up in our attitude about divorce? Are we too quick to see this as an alternative when we should be respecting and preserving the sanctity of marriage? It seems our values are slipping with those of the world around us.)

    Conclusion: (To some degree, we are living in a Sodom and Gomorra like world. It seems to be whittling away at our values. We must hold fast to godly principles and not allow ourselves to be tossed about with the changing times.)

    Should you even be there?

    Introduction: (We are often faced with opportunities to participate in things that are questionable. There are certain activities we know to be sinful. But sometimes we want to engage in "fringe activities" that don’t actually embrace these absolute areas but may involve us in being present where they happen. Follows are some examples and guiding principles that will help us understand what we should and shouldn’t do.)

    I. Questionable Situations: (There are many situations that involve obvious wrong. But some circumstances are not as obviously wrong to some disciples. As we examine different questionable situations and look at the idea of going but not participating, we will ask the question; "Should you even be there?")

      1. Going To Dances: Gal. 5:19-21, Mt. 5:28 (The Bible condemns lasciviousness [lewd actions, motions, etc.] and lustful thoughts. Some types of dancing leave no question. They definitely involve these things and are wrong. Is there no kind of social dancing that is okay? Look at these verses.)

      2. Going To Bars: Eph. 5:18, Prov. 23:29-32, Prov. 20:1, Prov. 23:20, Isa. 5:11-14 (The Bible clearly condemns drunkenness and its habitual nature. Going places to participate in that is undeniably wrong. But what about going to drink moderately or just to socialize. Is that always wrong? Read these verses.)

      3. Going To Worldly Parties: Eph. 5:1-6, I Cor. 6:9-10 (Certain sinful activities that are generally associated with wild parties are definitely wrong. But what about parties that are not quite as wild, or going but not participating. Is it ever okay to go to these kinds of places? What do these verses say?!)

    II. Guiding Principles: Prov. 6:27-28 (These guiding principles from God’s word will help you to understand that some of these situations are wrong in themselves, that you shouldn’t even be there, much less participating. This will show how that when you dabble in these things you are "playing with fire".)

      1. Reputation: Prov. 22:1 (A good reputation is priceless. You need to consider what your presence in certain situations will do to your reputation.)

      2. Reveling And Banquetings: I Pet. 4:3 (Wild parties and drinking parties are wrong, even if you don’t participate in the sinful extremes. If you are going to "stand firm and refuse to go over the line" why even be there? Just leave it alone.)

      3. Evil Association: I Cor. 15:33, Prov. 22:24-25, Prov. 29:3 (Associating with evil people will rub off on you. You can’t completely avoid evil people [I Cor. 5:10], but you don’t have to go to questionable places where they hang out either!)

      4. Rebuke: Eph. 5:11 (You must not associate with evil works. Instead you must rebuke them. Can you participate on a moderate level in these things and obey this command to rebuke what happens in these places?)

    III. Forgetting God: Rom. 1:21, 28 (Living in sinful situations tends to make you forget about God. Forgetting God doesn’t happen over night. It can involve a slow process of gradually increasing your involvement in questionable activity until you cross the line and are gone.) II Tim. 3:1-5 (When you toy with sin, you run the risk of becoming the type of person that loves pleasure more than God.)

    IV. God Forgetting You: Rom. 1:24, 26, 28 (You may participate in these things and insist you haven’t given up on God. Has the thought ever occurred to you God may have given you up because you have slipped into sin?)

    Conclusion: Jas. 4:7-10 (You may be able to find an example of where you can go to a place where sinful things are happening and not participate, but you need to wonder if you should even be there. It might be that your very presence there violates the above principles and is, therefore, sinful)

    Suicide

    Introduction: (Suicide is a subject that God’s people do not talk about very much, and yet we hear about it almost every day of our lives. Movie stars and celebrities often make the news because of suicide. Jack Kavorkian has made the subject of "assisted suicide" for the terminally ill front-page news. But for many, if not most, of us it is not some national headline but a very personal thing because:

      1. We know of people who have attempted suicide and failed.

      2. We know of people who have actually committed suicide.

      3. We know of others who have contemplated suicide as the answer to life’s problems.

      4. And perhaps the thought has even crossed your mind, if only for a fleeting moment.

    Can it ever be that people who kill themselves are right with God? The question of suicide is an important issue and growing more so. It is certainly worth our while to think about it.)

    I. Biblical Examples: (In these cases there is a clear, though implicit, negative judgment about the suicide. Sinful behavior brought misery. As the life was overwhelmed with the consequence of sin, the person took suicide as the "way out".)

      1. Abimelek: Judges 9:50-54 (Abimelek, the power-hungry son of Gideon, killed himself out of pride. A woman of the enemies threw a millstone on his head and mortally wounded him, but he couldn’t bear the thought of being killed by a woman, so he commanded his armor-bearer to run him through.)

      2. Ahithophel: II Sam. 17:23 (Ahithophel was an adviser to King David’s son, Absalom. Absalom had seized the throne, and put his father on the run. Ahithophel advised him to go immediately and kill King David, but Absalom listened instead to Hushai, who counseled him to wait. Ahithophel was so shamed at being rejected that he went home and hanged himself . We can see from these two examples that suicide was not portrayed as good or positive.)

      3. Saul: 1 Sam. 31:3-4 (We see the same negative light in the cases of the two suicidal kings, Saul and Zimri. In each case, the king chose to kill himself rather than be taken by the enemy. Saul fell on his own sword to avoid capture by the Philistines.) II Sam. 1:1-16 (Note that the one who assisted Saul in committing suicide was accountable as well.)

      4. Zimri: 1 Kings 16:18-19 (Zimri, besieged by his rival, burned his own palace down over him. Both kings were spiritual failures before their deaths. Their suicides are not presented as heroic, but as the end result of wicked, increasingly depraved careers.)

      5. Judas: Mt. 27:3-5 (After seeing that his betrayal of Christ would result in crucifixion, Judas fell apart. Rather than repenting with godly sorrow, his sorrow of the world brought death.)

    II. Biblical Principals: (So we have explored Bible examples of suicide. Our task now is to search for what principles that are taught in the Bible that might guide us in this matter. When we do, we find the following seven principals that lead us to a sure and certain judgment about it.)

      1. The Sanctity of Life: Rom 13:9 (Thou shalt not commit murder." This commandment prohibits murder, which is the willfull and malicious taking of the life of another. Suicide is murder of one’s self.) Genesis 9:6 (Earthly human life is a precious gift from God. It alone of all God’s creations is said to be crafted in his image. We cannot destroy something so holy and so precious, as if it no longer had enough value even to exist. With God, if not with man, all human life remains a holy and precious thing.)

      2. Our Lives Are A Gift: (Let us say you give your son a car for his 16th birthday. At first he enjoys it. He’s just glad to have wheels! Over time, though, little things about it start to bother him. He feels more and more disappointed until he even starts hating it. Finally he takes it to a cliff one day and pushes it off. How would you feel? How might our heavenly Father regard it, then, were we to throw away willfully and bitterly this infinitely more generous gift, this earthly human life that we have from him?)

      3. You Are Not Your Own: Romans 14:7-8 (If our life is not our own, then we have no right to dispose of it as we please. We belong to him, body and soul. If it is a sin to take what belongs to another and destroy it, how much more to take what belongs to God and destroy it! As a christian you do not have the right to live for yourself, likewise you do not have the right to die for yourself.)

      4. Don’t Be Selfish: Phi. 1:21-26 (Paul saw the continuation of his life as an opportunity to serve others. Suicide is generally an act of pure selfishness. It comes of retreating into one’s own little world, entirely wrapped up one’s own self and in one’s own problems and feelings. Self-pity, which is a form of selfishness, often fills the soul. Some, they say, even kill themselves or attempt to, for attention, to make others feel sorry for them. Instead of being this way, we should seek to live on for the benefit of others.  Most often, suicide is the ultimate act of self-pity.)

    Conclusion: (These biblical principles and the examples are enough to rule out suicide entirely. It can be no option for us. If thoughts of suicide ever come to your mind, then I hope you will let these great spiritual truths overwhelm them. The power of fear, of rash impulses, or of depression can be great, but do not let them sweep you along. Let the peace of God reign in your heart.)

    The Death Penalty

    1. All Men Are Condemned To Die. This Sentence Is Carried Out By God.
         
      1. Rom 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
      2. Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
      3. II Cor 1:9-10 "Yes We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us."
      4. I Cor 15:21-22 "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive."
      5. POINT: God, the one that defines justice and punishment in our world, will carry out the death sentence even though He is Love and is the ultimate source of mercy and grace. The idea of the death penalty is not only Biblical, one might say it is God given.
         
    2. God Not Only Carries Out The Death Penalty But He Also Authorized Men To Carry Out The Death Penalty Through The Civil Law That He Gave To Israel.
         
      1. Reasons.
           
        1. Idol worship to Molech Lev 20:2
        2. Adultery Num.25:6-8
        3. Homosexuality
        4. Bestiality
      2. Purpose
           
        1. Deut 13:5 Eliminate Evil: "so you shall put away the evil from your midst."
        2. Deut 13:11 DETERANT AGAINST EVIL: "So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.
        3. Ex 21:1-25 PUNISHMENT FOR EVIL: This text speaks about various forms of punishment, one of which is "shall surely be put to death."
      3. Blame
           
        1. Lev 20:9 In this text as it speaks of the death penalty it says of the one being punished, "His blood shall be upon him."
        2. II Sam 1:16 "Your blood is on your own head"
        3. Num.35:19-28 The laws concerning the cities of refuge v27-28
        4. II Sam 3:33 Abner was responsible for his own death
          .
      4. POINT: God commanded Israel in their civil affairs to carry out the death sentence on those who committed certain crimes. Who are we to questions God’s design for a civil government. God also gave the purpose for this penalty. Since God said it would act as a deterrent, who are we to question whether or not that it does. God also explained who would be responsible for the death of the one who is put to death. "Your blood is on your own head". Recently an Oklahoma criminal was put to death (Roger Dale Stafford). When he stands before Gods judgment, he will not only have to answer for the people that he killed at a local steak house, but he will also have to answer to God for his own death. The ones who carry out the deed will not be guilty.
         
    3. God Has Continued His Authorization For Governments To Carry Out This Death Penalty.
         
      1. Rom 13:1-6 Bears the sword not in vain. To execute God's wrath on evil
      2. Tit 3:1 God instructs us to recognize these authorities
      3. I Pet 2:1 Obey the laws. These are sent to punish evildoers.
      4. II Pet 2:10 Do not speak evil of those in authority
      5. Acts 4:19, 5:29 Obey God over man
         
    4. Common Objections To The Death Penalty.
         
      1. It doesn't work as a deterrent.
        1. God said it did. Deut 13:11
        2. Its not a public event and not carried out in a speedy manner as God meant it to be. Eccl 8:11
        3. Not all the crimes are punished with the death penalty that should be.
      2. Moral objections.
        1. If God used it and "commanded" men to use it also, who are we to question the moral grounds of it.
      3. How can a merciful nation put a man to death.
        1. We should never confuse mercy and justice. Heb 12:5-6
      4. Jesus did away with it.
        1. John 8:1-11 Jesus told them to stone her
        2. Romans 13:1-6
      5. What if we got the wrong man?
        1. The most famous execution in the world was a case like this and it was sanctioned by God. John 19:11
           
    5. Conclusion:
      1. To say that you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God is to say that you believe He never made a mistake.
      2. Everything he taught, personally and through his apostles MUST BE TRUE, including this.
      3. It may seem compassionate to stand against the death penalty, but to do so puts you in opposition to God.
      4. As a christian, we should never be found opposing what God in His Word commands.
      5. We can never allow our feelings to make us go against God's word.
      6. Never forget that you too are under the penalty of death, and God has not released you from it.

    The sin of homosexuality